Posted on 22 March 2010.
Posted on 22 March 2010.
Blacksburg, VA — The Virginia Tech Hokies (25-8) advanced to the third round of the National Invitation Tournament by defeating the uconn huskies 65-63 at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg. The Hokies now have 25 wins, which ties the school record set in 1995-1996, when Virginia Tech last won the NIT. Tech’s junior guard Dorenzo Hudson powered the Hokies’ offense with 27 points. Surprisingly, Hudson also led VT with seven rebounds.
It was a good thing Hudson was on his game tonight because Tech’s leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney, struggled to score for the second game out his last three. The junior from Baltimore had only six points, two of which were free throws. Delaney shot just 2 of 14 and missed all five of his three-point attempts. He did, however, feed Hudson off a curl for the game-winning basket, and he played hard the whole game – just couldn’t get his shot to go.
Jeff Allen, another junior, also struggled, despite not being in foul trouble. Allen also had six points, but only three rebounds, well below his season average. Like Delaney, though, he came up big when it mattered, blocking a uconn shot with five seconds left that would have given the huskies the lead.
JT Thompson was the only Hokie other than Hudson to score in double figures with 10. Victor Davila, a sophomore, had eight points, four of which were huge free throws in the final two minutes to keep the Hokies within striking distance.
Both coaches received technical fouls for mouthing off the officials. Seth Greenberg, Tech’s seventh-year head coach, got T’d up in the first half after expressing his frustration with several no-calls including several goal-tending calls against uconn that were not called.
Calhoun picked up his technical about five minutes into the second half after the Hokies took a 38-37 lead and uconn’s Stanley Robinson got called for an offensive foul for elbowing Malcolm Delaney in the face. Calhoun disagreed and quietly said something to the official who immediately T’d him up.
The Hokies struggled mightily in the first half and looked out of sync. They committed seven turnovers and trailed by 12 points, 28-16, with 5:28 to play in the half. However, Tech mustered a late run scoring 14 points in the final five minutes, including a halftime buzzer beater three-pointer by JT Thompson, just his third three of the season. JT’s shot pulled the Hokies within five at the break, 30-35.
Tech came out strong in the second half with an 11-2 run to take the lead, 41-37. From that point on, it was a dog fight that featured two ties and nine lead changes.
Tech gave back it’s lead and uconn eventually led by five, 50-45, at the midway point of the second half. However, the Hokies never let the huskies pull away and kept within striking distance. Trailing by three, 61-58, with 1:58 to play, Davila made a pair of free throws to pull Tech within one. A minutes later, Davila did it again to draw tech within one again, 63-62, which would prove key because Hudson came of a screen and hit a pull-up jumper with :14 left to put the Hokies ahead for good, 64-63.
uconn had a chance to take the lead with 11 seconds left, but Jeff Allen blocked Kemba Walker’s attempt with :05 left and Gavin Edwards missed a layup with :01 left before Terrell Bell pulled down the rebound and was fouled. Bell missed the his first free throw and was told by Greenberg to miss the second with :00.7 left, but instead, Bell accidentally made the free throw giving uconn one last shot for a miracle, but the long shot fell short and the Hokies won 65-63.
Tech returns home Wednesday night to host rhode island, which beat nevada tonight 85-83, in third-round NIT action. Game time is set for 7 p.m. on ESPN2. Virginia Tech is 17-1 at home this season – its only loss was a double-overtime defeat to maryland.
Posted on 22 March 2010.
Highlights from the Hokie win…
Posted on 22 March 2010.
Here it is for those of you that missed it, the tense drama at the end…
Posted on 21 March 2010.
The uconn huskies, a NCAA Tournament Final Four team a year ago, come sledding into Blacksburg to face the Hokies on Monday night in the Second Round of the NIT. Tech did not fare well against the huskies when the two teams were in the Big East, with uconn winning six of seven (Seth was 0-1). But this is a uconn team that was struggling mightily down the stretch as their coach Jim Calhoun dealt with health issues. The huskies lost 12 of 18 going into the NIT, including their last four games.
Seth Greenberg has always said he’d love a chance to coach a McDonald’s All-American. Well, Jim Calhoun and the huskies are on a first name basis with the Hamburglar and Ronald. uconn has four guys that were 5-star recruits on their roster. But after going to the Final Four and returning three seniors that were major contributors this year, things just haven’t panned out. I wouldn’t expect a lot of energy out of the huskies on the road in the NIT. Tech needs to take advantage of that and go after them early. Build up an early lead and the huskies may roll over and play dead.
Spread: The Hokies opened as a 4 point favorite.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:
STARTERS AND SCOUTING REPORT:
|G||23 Delaney 6’3″||15 Walker 6’1″|
|G||5 Hudson 6’5″||11 Dyson 6’4″|
|F||1 Bell 6’6″||21 Robinson 6’9″|
|F||0 Allen 6’7″||33 Edwards 6’10″|
|C||14 Davila 6’8″||34 Oriakhi 6’9″|
This uconn team doesn’t have a force inside like a Thabeet or Okafor, thankfully, but can rebound the ball well. They also have three seniors in their starting lineup.
On offense, uconn is very good in transition, even on the secondary break, and will look to push when they can. But the huskies turn the ball over a lot, especially considering they have two All-Big East guards. When they struggled down the stretch their turnovers really got out of hand. They had double the turnovers their opponent had in two of their last four games, and were -6 in another game. Tech needs to force them to make the extra pass and force them to work in the half court, then look for steals. That half court trap VT has used at times could work very well against the huskies.
On defense you have to force uconn to defend the full possession. The huskies are aggressive on D and will take chances. If you can move the ball well, you are going to find open players as they get lazy as the shot clock wears on and aren’t great on help defense.
Hey, I’m all about leveraging what our readers know. Regular poster King provided this insight on the huskies lineup (thanks King!):
PG: Kemba Walker vs Malcolm Delaney (Advantage: Delaney…hands down) [Niemo's Note: Walker made 3rd Team All-Big East. Walker doesn't shoot a lot of threes but shoots a solid 34% from deep. Kemba likes to attack the rim and gets to the line a lot. He is very good in transition, but not a good spot up shooter. He was just 1/9 against northeastern.]
SG: Jerome Dyson vs Dorenzo Hudson (Advantage: Dyson…but only slightly…if ‘Zo is healthy it might be a Tie) [Niemo's Note: Dyson, like Walker, made 3rd Team All-Big East. So their starting back court was recognized by the league. Dyson led the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg but struggling shooting. Jerome shot under 40% from the floor and under 30% on 3s. Dyson was especially bad down the stretch, hitting just 6/26 shots (0/7 on 3s) in their final three games, all losses. He got benched early in the northeastern game for some defensive lapses but had a game high 18 points.]
SF: Stanley Robinson vs Terrell Bell (Advantage: Robinson…athletic freak w/ NBA length & DWash-like jumping ability; Bell will have to respect his jump shot, anticipate him going in for the alley-oop from the weak side, and work hard to keep him off the offensive glass) [Niemo's Note: Robinson had 14 against northeastern on 7/11 shooting because they couldn't match him inside. You must force him to beat you farther out, from 12 feet or more. And he does turn the ball over a lot so be aggressive on him away from the hoop, he'll make bad passes or can get stripped.]
PF: Gavin Edwards vs Jeff Allen (Advantage: Tie…Edwards doesn’t start but plays starter’s minutes…Allen starts but often rides the bench since he’s prone to fouling early and often…Edwards is a smart player who has underrated post moves and soft hands…Allen has a lot more upside and can take Edwards off the dribble…very intriguing matchup) [Niemo's Note: Edwards, a senior, did start the NIT first round game. He is a great offensive rebounder and Tech must keep him off the glass by boxing him out. Not a great shot blocker so you can go at him even though he is 6'10".]
C: Alex Oriakhi vs Victor Davila (Advantage: Tie…neither one is very good and both are young…Oriakhi had a solid game against Northeastern while Davila had more rebounds against the Q than in the previous 3 games combined) [Niemo's Note: Alex is just a space-eater inside. Decent but not great rebounder, not a good shooter unless it is a dunk, and terrible from the free throw line (55%). Can block shots though.]
Bench: uconn vs VT (Advantage: Tech… uconn has very little depth…big opportunity for players like JT, Atkins, Raines, & Witcher to contribute) [Niemo's Note: As King mentioned, their starters play a lot. Four of them average over 30 minutes. So they don't get a lot off the bench, but can bring in Lurch (Ater Majok - Martinsville, VA) to block shots. He is listed at 6'11" but I've never seen him stand up straight. The huskies get just eight points per game off their bench, so don't expect much of any offense.]
Intangibles: VT playing at home in the Cassell with eyes towards the NIT championship, proving the NCAA selection committee wrong (great job today Utah State…not) and setting a tone for next season. uconn is mailing this season in considering that they barely scraped by Northeastern. I also have to give credit to Greenberg for being a great motivator. Calhoun’s a hall-of-fame coach but he intimidates his players which causes them to stiffen up. They play to stay out of his doghouse and this explains why their psyche has been so fragile all season. I’m confident Seth will have the Hokies loose and ready to play.
Let’s Go Hokies!!! [Thanks again, King]
01/07 vs. syracuse, 9 p.m., ACCN
01/11 vs. boston college, noon, RSN
01/15 vs. clemson, 7 p.m., RSN
01/19 @ notre dame, 6 p.m., ESPNU
01/22 vs. wake forest, 7 p.m., RSN
01/25 @ virginia, 3 p.m., ACCN
01/29 @ boston college, 7 p.m., RSN
02/01 vs. maryland, noon, ACCN
02/05 @ florida state, 9 p.m., RSN
02/08 @ pittsburgh, noon, RSN
02/15 vs. miami, 6 p.m., RSN
02/18 vs. virginia, 9 p.m., ACCN
02/22 vs. nc state, 2 p.m., RSN
02/25 @ duke, 7 p.m, ESPNU
03/01 vs. north carolina, 2:30 p.m, ACCN
03/04 @ maryland, 8 p.m., ACCN
03/08 @ georgia tech, 2 p.m, ESPN/ESPN2