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Game and College Gameday Highlights | VT 64, #1 duke 60

Here are the highlights from College Gameday in Blacksburg, the Hokies victory over the #1 blue devils, and some of the post-game theatrics.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, HighlightsComments (3)

See You at the BIG DANCE! | VT (9-5, 19-8) 64, #1 duke (12-2, 26-3) 60 | 2.26.11


The Hokies got the signature win that everyone has been looking for over the last four years, and all but punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 64-60 win over #1 duke at the Cassell. Tech used an extremely balanced effort to take down the devils. All five Hokie starters reached double-digits in points, including double-doubles from Jeff Allen and Victor Davila. The Hokies are now 3-2 against #1 teams under Coach Seth Greenberg, and this was Tech’s fourth win all-time against a #1 (Tech is 3-1 against #1 teams in the Cassell overall).

Things looked bleak for the Hokies as the game got to the later stages of the second half. Tech trailed 55-50 with 6:11 to go, but used a 9-0 run to jump out to a 59-55 lead with 2:39 left. duke never got closer than two after that point, though things got interesting at the end. Up 62-57 with 1:30 to go and with the ball, a lazy pass led to a Mason Plumlee dunk. And in the final minute, Tech was awful from the foul line, as they were all game. Tech won despite their free throw woes. The Hokies hit just 8/19 (42%), well below their 72% average, and they had been the #1 FT% team in conference games. But just enough free throws made and cold shooting from behind the arc for duke gave Virginia Tech the win.

After shooting 50% in the first half, Tech really struggled in the second half, hitting just 30% of their shots. The Hokies didn’t score for four and a half minutes in the middle of the second half, allowing duke to go on a 7-0 run and take a 51-45 lead. The two teams traded baskets, and the devils led 53-47 with 6:30 to go when an Allen 3-pointer closed the gap to three.

After a Nolan Smith jumper with 6:13 to go made it 55-50 (Smith’s 18th and final points of the night), it was hustle that got the Hokies back in it. Green missed a 3-pointer, but Bell skied across the paint to grab an offensive rebound. He fed the ball to Allen, who missed a jumper, but Davila slammed home the miss for the play of the night. Then Bell drained a 3-pointer with 4:42 to go the game was even. Tech had trailed for more than 10 minutes straight at that point.

Two Bell free throws with 4:19 to go put Tech back in the lead, and a Jeff Allen layup made it 59-55 with 2:39 to go. After a Singler layup, it was time for Malcolm Delaney to dust off his cape and hit a huge 3-pointer, giving VT a 62-57 lead with two minutes to go.

The Hokies were just 2/6 from the foul line in the final minute, but duke could not hit a jumpshot and the Hokies pulled it out. The fans stormed the court and Coach Greenberg hugged his daughters on the floor, seemingly in tears. Yep, everyone gave everything they had tonight — fans, coaches, and most of all, players. And now they should get want they want, barring a collapse in the next two weeks — a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Tech won thanks to several things:

  1. Davila’s hands – Victor was catching passes he hasn’t caught all year, and he was converting inside. He made a nice catch and finish to get the Hokies on the board and that set the tone.
  2. My ball – Jeff Allen dominated the glass, as did the Hokies. Tech grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second-chance points.
  3. Balance – The Hokies had it, duke didn’t. Smith and Singler combined for 40 of duke’s 60 points. Meanwhile, all five starters from VT scored between 11 and 18 points.
  4. Ball security – duke committed just 5 turnovers on the night, but keep in mind they had just ONE turnover with 10 minutes to go in the game. They committed 4 turnovers down the stretch, leading to Hokie transition opportunities (VT had 15 fastbreak points to just 4 by duke). And Tech committed just 6 turnovers on the night, including just 2 in the second half.
  5. All In – Simply put, VT wanted this game. The whole team, especially the seniors wanted Tuesday to be their final home game. They didn’t want to have to come back to the Cassell for an NIT game.  And when the chips were down, they sealed the deal.  They outhustled the blue devils to 50/50 rebounds and kept possessions alive.

Jeff Allen was the man of the night for the Hokies, as he’s been for the last month. He racked up 18 points and 15 rebounds for his eighth double-double in nine games. He even knocked down two huge 3-pointers, just his fourth and fifth of the season.  Jeff also made some terrific passes inside that led to easy buckets for Davila when duke doubled Jeff.

Victor Davila also had a night.  He scored 11 points and collected 10 rebounds for just his second career double-double and first ever in ACC play. But he was just 1/6 from the foul line, highlighting an awful team effort from the stripe.

The star of the second half for the Hokies was Terrell Bell. He scored five points early in the second half to help the Hokies build a 42-37 lead with 17:19 to go, had a huge offensive rebound that led to the Hokies getting within three, trailing 55-52 with 4:42 to go, and then scored five straight to put the Hokies ahead 57-55. His 3-pointer tied the game at 55 with 4:42 to go. Bell had 10 points in the second half.

Erick Green tallied 12 points but 10 of those were in the first half. He had three ‘and-1′ opportunities tonight but converted just one. After a month stretch where he hit 32/33 from the foul line, he has since fallen into a horrible slump and was just 1/5 from the line tonight.

Notice I haven’t mentioned somebody… Malcolm Delaney, in what he called the biggest game of his life, struggled all night thanks to a suffocating duke defense. But Malcolm answered the call when it mattered most, hitting a gigantic 3-pointer with 2:02 to go, putting the Hokies up 62-57. He finished with just 11 points on 4/15 shooting (1/6 from behind the arc), but he hit the big shot when the Hokies needed it.

The much ballyhooed return of Seth Curry to the Cassell was a non-factor. Seth picked up two quick fouls in the first half, and two more early in the second half, and finished with a big goose egg, fouling out at the end. Nolan Smith, the ACC’s Player of the Year this year, had a solid game with 18 points on 9/18 from the floor (slightly below his average). Kyle Singler had 22 for duke, but most of his damage was from the line. He was just 6/19 from the floor but 9/10 from the line.

duke really struggled from deep. They finished 4/20 from 3-point range, going 2/10 in both halves. The blue devils shot just 40% for the game thanks to an all out defensive effort for the Hokies.

Random duke thought: When have you seen Coach K call all five timeouts in a game?  He makes a point of having his guys play through rough stretches, not giving the opponent the satisfaction of letting them know they have the devils on the run.  But Coach K burned all five, and just one was at the end.

Overall, what a great day for Virginia Tech basketball. Tech had a great turnout for ESPN College Gameday, inspiring Rece Davis to call it one of the loudest, if not the loudest he had been to. But then when the real show started, the Hokies persevered and found a way to win the big game, what they hadn’t been able to do the last 3+ seasons. Now let’s pack the Cassell on Tuesday night for the next big game against boston college. Tuesday is SENIOR NIGHT!  Let’s send Malcolm, Jeff, Terrell, and Paul out right.

Halftime – VT 33, duke 31 – First half recap…

If I told you Delaney would have just 4 points at the half and duke would have 0 turnovers, yet VT was leading, you’d have told me I was certifiably insane! But that’s just what happened. The Hokies shot 50% from the field in the first half and led by as many as seven. Tech jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead at the first media timeout and kept the lead most of the first half.

duke briefly took the lead at 16-14 with under 9-minutes to go in the first half, but an 8-2 run by the Hokies gave them a 29-22 lead. The run was thanks in large part to fast break points. Tech had 8 in the first half.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game RecapsComments (27)

Preview | #1 duke (12-1, 26-2) at VT (8-5, 18-8) | Saturday at 9 PM | ESPN

Spread: duke by 4 (Wow, that’s respect!).  ESPN College Gameday: 10 AM to Noon.

Program changer.  You don’t get many opportunities at program changing wins, but VT has a shot at one on Saturday.  The whole nation (and world thanks to ESPN America) will be get a big glimpse of what Hokie Nation is like for roundball on Saturday with ESPN College Gameday (basketball) making its first ever trip to the ‘Burg with Rece, Hubert, Digger, and Jay Bilas, airing from 10 AM to Noon.  Then, the big show starts nine hours later with Tech taking on the #1, by God, duke blue devils at 9 PM on ESPN in OUR CASSELL.  I’m all in, you’re all in, and the players will be all in for sure.

Tech has played very well against #1 teams under Seth Greenberg.  Check out how they’ve done.

  • 12/4/05 – @duke 77, VT 75
  • 1/13/07 – @VT 94, unc 88
  • 3/15/08 (ACC Tourney) – unc 68, VT 66
  • 1/21/09 – VT 78, @wake 71
  • 3/13/09 (ACC Tourney) – unc 79, VT 76

That’s a solid 2-3 record with the three losses by a combined seven points.  We all know VT had that game at duke won until that 40+ footer by Dockery, VT was tied in ’08 against unc until Hansbrough hit a shot with a second to go, and VT had a couple of shots to take the lead late against unc in ’09.

The stakes could not be higher in this game.  The seniors have been working so hard to make the NCAA Tournament the last four years, only to get denied either due to missed opportunities, or a certifiably insane Selection Committee.  Well, you know what?  If the seniors can find a way to win Saturday, they all but punch their ticket for the Big Dance assuming they don’t turn around and lose three in a row after that.  So it is time to put up or shut up for Delaney, Allen, and Bell.  Or at least clam up until they pick up 2-3 more wins in the next two weeks.  They should think of this as a play-in game for the tournament (double elimination, though).  Win and your in, lose and there is some work left to do.


  • All-time: duke 36-7
  • In ACC Play: duke 7-2
  • At VT in ACC Play: duke 3-1
  • Streak: duke has won 4 in a row


Position Virginia Tech duke
Guard 11 Green 6-4 2 Smith 6-2
Guard 23 Delaney 6-3 30 Curry 6-2
Wing/Forward 1 Bell 6-7 12 Singler 6-8
Forward 0 Allen 6-7 34 Kelly 6-11
Forward 14 Davila 6-8 5 Ma. Plumlee 6-10

Bench notes:  Andre Dawkins is a deadly shooter off the bench.  He hits 43% of his 3-pointers and shoots a lot.  Miles Plumlee isn’t as aggressive as his brother, Mason, and therefore doesn’t contribute in the same ways.  Tyler Thornton will play about 10 minutes off the bench to rest Smith and Curry at guard (mostly Curry), while Josh Hairston from Fredericksburg plays sparingly to give the forwards a rest.  This is not a deep team with Kyrie Irving, the John Wall of this year, still out.  Dawkins is the only guy that really gives much in the scoring column, while Miles will chip in some rebounds.

It will be interesting to see if VT can get some production from Eddie (17 points against wake – but keep in mind he’s from near there, had a chip on his shoulder after the arrest, and had wake as his other finalist… and wake is really bad) or Atkins.  Tech needs to get something from those guys.  8-10 points combined would be great, especially if the struggling Atkins can knock down a few 3-pointers like he did at unc or like Eddie did at wake.  I wouldn’t expect to see much of Garland unless it is necessary.  Freshman guards do not have an easy time with duke’s defensive intensity and Tyrone gets lost on defense at times.


Virginia Tech duke
RPI 63 5
PPG 72.2 (4) 76.3 (1)
Pts Against 65.5 (5) 62.6 (1)
FG % 46% (1) 45% (3)
3-Pt % 38% (2) 35% (5)
FT % 75% (1) 73% (4)
Scorer Delaney 19.1 Smith 21.4
Rebounder Allen 10.3 Ma. Plumlee 8.8
Assists Delaney 4.2 Smith 5.3
Steals Green/Delaney 1.7 Curry 1.5
Blocks Davila 1.2 Plumlee/Kelly 1.6

Note: Team stats are from ACC games only along with the team’s ACC ranking, player stats are from all games this season.

Nolan Smith IS the ACC Player of the Year, and has a great shot at National Player of the Year.  He’s tearing it up right now with Irving out.  He’ll get his (he had 19 in their loss to fsu and 32 against the johnnies).  You just have to hope duke has to work for their points.


  1. Carpe diem duke: Seize the day, beat the #1 team, and finally announce to the world – Virginia Tech is a NCAA Tournament.
  2. Be Smart Physical: fsu and st. john’s both bullied duke around.  This will be tough for VT to do with their lack of depth inside.  But Allen and Davila can’t let the blue devils push them around inside to avoid fouls.  Davila has to do his usual good job of positioning himself on D in the low block, and Allen has to get to almost every duke miss (with the guards dropping to help).  Singler and Kelly aren’t going to win any bodybuilding contests, so if you can get position, they aren’t going to beat you on the glass.
  3. Defend the 3: Pretty much everyone that plays big minutes for duke except the Plumlee brothers will shoot the three and shoot it well.  Singler and Smith shoot the most and hit 36% and 38% respectively.  Curry and Dawkins knock them down at a 43% clip, and the 6-10 Kelly shoots 37% from deep and can really light it up (he’s not a back to the basket guy but will occasionally drive if you don’t respect it).  duke might be the best team in the country year in and year out at penetrating and kicking the ball out for a wide open 3 after sucking the defense in.  They also will collect long rebounds on offense and swing it for open shots.  VT has to rotate very well in this game and anticipate where a kick-out might go if duke penetrates.  It will also be crucial that Allen be able to defend the perimeter – he struggled doing this against Joe Harris of uva, he was slow in chasing Harris off screens (and it took him away from rebounding position).  I’d expect to see VT go 2-3 or 3-2 zone at least half this game, despite duke’s prowess from deep, to help with rebounding and keep the guards on their shooters.
  4. Pound the Post: Allen is too quick for Kelly inside if Kelly guards him.  Give him the ball 8-12 feet from the basket and let him shoot that sweet mid-range jumper, or beat him off the dribble.  If Plumlee is on him, than feed the rock to Davila, hope he catches it, and look to go to the baby hook or kick it out (guards need to slide for open 3s).
  5. Shoot well, hope they don’t:  Pretty basic, but that’s what has beaten duke.  fsu shot 44% to just 31% by duke, st. john’s shot 58% to just 42% by duke.  The red storm helped create that high percentage by pushing the ball.  duke does not have the greatest athletes in the world, so they can be beaten off the dribble.  The problem is in the half court they are so good at drawing charges (careful, Jeff).  But if you beat them up the floor, that’s not as much of a worry.  In the half court, protect the ball and work for good shots, don’t settle early in the clock for a long jumper.
  6. BRING IT!  Hey, we can help get these seniors a NCAA Tournament ticket.  ALL IN from warm-ups through final buzzer… and don’t blow your load at 10 AM.


Take the biggest nerd from your school, then from 4,999 other schools, and you have duke.  I’m still waiting for Fox to produce a reality show where they take a florida state frat and move them to duke for a semester and let them run wild.  Those nerds wouldn’t leave their dorm rooms for three months.

Posted in 2010-11 Season, Game PreviewsComments (8)

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