Tag Archive | "022809-duke"

Game Recap | duke (24-5, 10-4) 72, Hokies (17-11, 7-7) 65


Box Score

A.D. Vassallo notched his first double-double of the season with 26 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Hokies’ poor first half, the absence of Hank Thorns, an injured J.T. Thompson, and of course, the duke factor, i.e. questionable calls as Tech fell to No. 7 duke, 65-72.

The Hokies managed just five points in the first 10 minutes of the game and fell behind 20-5 midway through the half and trailed by as many at 16 (16-32). Malcolm Delaney only scored 7 points on 2/12 shooting from the field and 0/6 from 3-point range; but he played all 40 minutes, had 8 assists and only 3 turnovers. Thorns missed the game because of illness (still dehydrated from the clemson game apparently) and duke took full advantage of his absence by denying Delaney the ball the entire game.

Thompson sprained his knee on a dunk in the win over clemson and was slightly better than 80 percent (his words) before this game. He came off the bench and scored 13 points, just two shy of his season high of 15 vs. charleston southern. Cheick Diakite recorded a DNP (did not play) in this game – only the second game in which he has not played this season.

Vassallo, who is 10th on Tech all-time scoring list, scored 21 of his 26 points in the second half, including a streak of 15 straight Tech points during a 15-4 run that pulled the Hokies into a 58-58 tie. Vassallo was simply unstoppable during that run and the Cassell was going nuts. But, after knotting the game at 58 with 5:59 to play, Tech went without a point for 4 minutes, 47 seconds.

The dookies only scored one field goal in the final six minutes, but hit 10/12 free throws to put the game away. The Hokies, without Thorns, couldn’t get a good open look for Delaney or Vassallo in the final minutes.

As has been par for the course when playing the evil empire, the officials gave duke just about every call and then some, let coach k manipulate them and allow their players to get away with so much holding, reach-ins and over-the-backs, it was laughable. I couldn’t find any official stats, but I counted SEVEN charges called against the Hokies including two in the final minutes that killed the their momentum. At one point, head coach Seth Greenberg slammed a water bottle to the floor and came dangerously close to getting a technical.

Additionally, with the Hokies trailing by four with about 22 seconds to play, dook inbounded the ball along the baseline and the Hokies swarmed trying to get the foul. Two Hokies were trying to get a held ball call and in the process were mugging the dook player, but the refs didn’t call anything. Finally, after 8 seconds ran off the clock, coach k called a time out. Again, Greenberg was livid. After calling ticky-tack calls all night, the Hokies were trying to foul and the refs decided to let them play.

The bottom line is the the Hokies came back from a 16-point deficit minus Hank Thorns who was coming off his best game of the season and a key contributor, Thompson, playing hurt. Add to that Jeff Allen’s foul trouble and it’s amazing the game was as close as it was. Now Tech needs to win at least one of their final two regular season games to ensure at least a .500 record in conference play.

With today’s loss the Hokies have been officially eliminated from getting a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament and will play on day one. Their next game is Wednesday, March 4, at home against unc, which crushed georgia tech today, 104-74. Game time is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

Random Notes:
Delaney attempted a Hail Mary three pointer at the end of regulation in an attempt to keep his double-digit scoring streak alive … he missed. His 7 points marks the first time all season he has failed to score 10 or more in a game. The last time Delaney scored fewer than 10 points was March 9, 2008 at clemson when he had 3 points. Since that game, he had scored in double-digits in 32 straight games.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Recaps, GamesComments (0)

Preview | #7 duke (23-5, 9-4) @ VT (17-10, 7-6) | Sat., 3:30 PM | ABC


Off-Topic: ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has VT back in the tourney as a #11 seed out West heading into the Hokies’ game with duke today.  The Hokies are not one of the last four in (ie: somewhat secure).  A win today would really cement their tournament standing, while a loss would put Tech firmly back on the bubble.

THE SETUP

Note: It is a White Out, people!  Don’t forget to wear white, in accordance with the university making up a new “-out” each year.  Since we wore white jerseys for the black out, what jerseys will we wear for the white out?  What happened to maroon or orange outs???

The Hokies are back in the NCAA Tournament picture with their win at clemson.  But forget all that.  Tech knows they need to win more games to stay in the hunt.  So they need to focus on this one game and give it 100%.  At clemson, every Hokie left everything on the court, and the result was a ‘W’.  The Hokies can’t forget that and coast in this game, because it doesn’t get any easier.  The Hokies need to play with confidence and determination.

On Tech’s side is the fact they are at home where they are 24-14 all time in ACC play.  Sure VT lost to duke by 25 in the first meeting almost two months ago.  But let’s not forget that in 2005 duke beat Tech by 35 in Durham, only to lose in Blacksburg.  Expect a wild (turkey) crowd, too.  If you don’t hate duke basketball, you are either: a) a duke fan, or b) oblivious to basketball.  duke is the Evil Empire of college basketball.  They are to roundball what notre dame is to college football — 90% of their fans have probably never even been to Durham (nor would anyone want to go there).

This game also marks the annual Hokie Celebration!  Will the arm-curl tradition continue?  Find out next week.

THE SERIES

  • The Series: 7-34
  • Since VT joined the ACC: 2-5
  • At the Cassell: 1-2

Last Meeting: @duke 69, VT 44  –  Tech fell behind 11-0 but worked their way back into things.  They cut the lead to four early in the second half, but after a coach k timeout, duke went on a 30-9 run to finish the game.  VT managed just 13 second-half points and the 44 total points are the lowest in the Greenberg era and the fewest points scored since a little man named ricky stokes stood dumb-founded on the VT sideline.  There were no bright spots in the first duke game. Tech managed just one three-pointer for the contest.  But VT has hit 10+ threes in each of their last two games, so they come in hotter than one of my dates after I’ve had 10 beers!

LINEUPS

Virginia Tech

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Point Guard

10 – Thorns

5’9″

3.0

So

Shooting Guard

23 – Delaney

6′3″

18.8

So

Small Forward

40 – Vassallo

6′6″

18.4

Sr

Power Forward

0 – Allen

6′7″

14.0

So

Center

34 – Diakite

6′9″

3.9

Sr

Bench

1 – Bell

6′6″

2.6

So

 

5 – Hudson

6′5″

3.9

So

 

14 – Davila

6′8″

3.4

Fr

 

21 – Witcher

6′9″

2.2

Jr

33 – Thompson

6’6″

4.8

So

 duke

Position

Player

Height

PPG

Year

Guard

30 – Scheyer

6′5″

13.8

Jr

Guard

20 – Williams

6′4″

3.7

Fr

Wing

15 – Henderson

6′4″

16.4

Jr

Forward

42 – Thomas

6′8″

5.8

Jr

Forward

12 – Singler

6′8″

16.0

So

Bench

2 – Smith*

6′2″

8.5

So

 

3 – Paulus

6’1″

5.8

Sr

 

14 – McClure

6’6″

1.9

Sr

 

21 – Plumlee

6′10″

1.9

Fr

 

55 – Zoubek

7’1″

5.1

Jr

* Nolan Smith suffered a concussion in the maryland game Wednesday and it is uncertain if he will play.  He got drilled by the terps’ Neal (picture Jeff Allen’s pick on uva’s Baker in the game in Blacksburg).  Of course, Smith was coming off a knee injury before the game at duke and it didn’t bother the blue devils one bit.

For VT, I expect Greenberg will start Hank Thorns for the second game in a row.  duke likes to press, and Elliot Williams is a fantastic one-on-one defender that can steal the ball with ease.  Tech will need the extra ballhandler, and duke does not have a very big lineup anyway.  This will create some defensive match-up nightmares for the Hokies due to the height difference Hank will give up.

THE OPPONENT

This is not the same duke team Tech saw in Durham eight weeks ago.  First, Nolan Smith got benched in favor of senior Greg Paulus, one of the all-time overrated players / busts in duke history.  Then Paulus got benched three games ago after duke had lost four of six.  They decided to insert freshman Elliot Williams into the lineup with Scheyer, aka: “Crazy Face”, running the point at times.  Since these roster moves, duke is 3-0 with wins over maryland and wake forest.  Williams has scored in double digits in all three games, and has five steals, two assists, and four turnovers.

Also, Gerald Henderson has really stepped up his game.  He has scored in double digits in 20 straight games and has taken over the team’s scoring lead from Kyle Singler.  Gerald could probably best be called a poor man’s Vince Carter.  He is a freakish athlete, but is developing into a great all around player.  He has a fantastic midrange game and is nailing 37% of his threes (32/87).  Henderson exploded for 35 against wake.  Expect him to be in the NBA next year.

Singler is still a stud on the court but he has taken more of a back seat to Henderson in recent games.  His shooting percentage has fallen well off of late.  Allen can limit Singler, but Allen needs to avoid the dumb fouls that will force him to the bench.

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • Push It: In the first game I said Tech had to keep the game in the 70s or less.  I was wrong.  VT needs to attack, to be unafraid to run at these guys.  duke is deep and talented, but VT has plenty of bodies, too, if they need rest.  VT is 12-1 this season when scoring 75 or more points, and duke has averaged giving up over 81 points in their five losses.  If you take it to duke, they can get rattled, too.  And if Smith is out for duke, they lose their best setup man to their uptempo offense.  But duke is #1 in the ACC in scoring defense, so sticking it to them is easier said than done.
  • Attack their Guards: When Smith and Paulus are both on the bench, duke does not have a true point guard on the court.  While Tech is unlikely to press, they can do what they did against nc state — extend man pressure out to half court.  Force Scheyer or Williams to pick up their dribble 30-40 feet from the basket.  This can slow duke’s offense down with feeds off of penetration and kicking the ball out.
  • Wrap it up: duke is #1 in the ACC in turnover margin in conference play (by far).  VT needs to protect the ball and limit giveaways.  duke really doesn’t jump out in any other stat.  They win with solid fundamentals and intensity.  As I said to begin this article, Tech should have the intensity with their postseason life on the line, but they also must play sound, smart basketball and protect the ball.
  • Rotate: duke may be the best team in the country at penetrating and kicking the ball out for open threes.  If Tech gets beaten off the dribble, and they have been quite often this season, others will have to help to stop the driver (often another player guarding a perimeter player).  That means the other remaining players have to identify the open perimeter players and rotate out to get a hand in their face.  The down side of this is often you lose who you were supposed to check on the defensive glass…
  • Party of Five on the Glass: All five players on the floor for the Hokies must help on the defensive glass.  duke spreads you out and likes to shoot from deep.  That means long rebounds and often switching defenders.  The Hokies must do a good job of finding someone to block out on shots and limiting the blue devils to one attempt. 
  • Pump and Go: duke’s trademark is a very aggressive half court defense.  They run at you very hard, sometimes out of control.  Tech’s perimeter players, if they use a pump fake, can get duke players coming out them to fly by and then penetrate the lane.  The Hokies can then hit pull up jumpers, pass to a sliding perimeter player on the opposite wing for a three, or go at the hoop and hopefully draw a foul.  Scheyer is duke’s weakest defender.  If Jon and A.D. are matched up, expect big numbers for both, though I expect Gerald Henderson, duke’s best athlete, will match up with Vassallo.
  • Matchups or Mismatchups?:  Henderson and Singler will present real challenges to VT to guard.  If Thorns is in, that means Tech will have to put Allen on Singler and possibly Thompson/Bell/Hudson on Henderson.  Delaney is probably too small to guard Henderson.
  • If it Feels Good, Keep Doing it: In the second half of the game at duke, Tech forgot what was working — penetrating the duke defense to get midrange jumpers.  The offense became stagnant and the Hokies were settling for contested shots.  The Hokies must keep driving, as well as running multiple screens to get their perimeter players open.  Also, when duke goes small, Allen can take these guys in the low post.  Feed him the ball.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Previews, GamesComments (3)


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