Tag Archive | "112608-elon"

Hokies Struggle to Douse the phoenix, 76-67

Box Score  |  Niemo’s Notes are below

Blacksburg, VA – It took much longer than fans and even Coach Seth Greenberg probably would have liked, but the Hokies were money from the free throw line down the stretch to finally put away the visiting elon phoenix, 76-67.

In what many considered a “tune up” before the Hokies’ prime-time Dec. 1 match-up with three-time defending big ten champs wisconsin, Virginia Tech struggled mightily against the phoenix, even trailing midway through the second half.

The good news is that true-freshman Victor Davila had his best game of the season with 16 points, which tied senior A.D. Vassallo for the team high. Even more impressive, Davila was 7 of 9 from the field. The rookie from North Carolina (by way of Puerto Rico) played like a veteran tonight, dominating inside and displaying some very strong moves to the rim, including a pair of impressive dunks.

Four Hokies scored in double figures; Davila and Vassallo with 16, Malcolm Delaney with 15, and Jeff Allen with 12. Interestingly enough, as Niemo pointed out in the preview, last season when the Hokies played elon, Allen (then a freshman) scored 19 points and was named ACC rookie of the week. I would imagine that Davila will get strong consideration for the same honor this season following tonight’s game.

The game was a snoozer from the tip with the Cassell barely at half capacity. Minus the students, band, cheerleaders, and High Techs, there was little to no atmosphere to this game. But the Hokies on the court soldiered on and actually played respectably, even getting quality offensive play early from Lewis Witcher — 6 points. And, unlike the previous game in which only six players scored, all nine Hokies who saw playing time scored.

The game was a back-and-forth battle and was tied at 50 with 6:37 left, until the Hokies used a 16-6 run late in the second half to take 10-point lead that they would nurse until elon ran out of time. Malcolm Delaney was once again held scoreless for the most of the game, notching a single three-pointer before hitting a perfect 12 for 12 from the free throw line to keep the game out of reach for the phoenix.

A couple of closing notes: No. 0 for elon, josh bonney, looked like he stepped right off the set of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, sporting the 6-inch high top fade. We’re talking Kid ‘N Play folks. Don’t believe me, check it out.

During Greenberg’s post-game interview with Bill Roth, Coach was asked if he was “OK” since he sat for most of the game, rather than pacing the sidelines as he usually does. Coach responded that he was “disappointed” with some of his players who needed to learn to be better teammates. He also made a comment that led us to believe that some players were complaining about playing time. He did say that some of his players “need to grow up.”

Not exactly what we want to see or hear going into the wisconsin game, but Coach did say that he fully expects his team to play at a very high level against the three-time defending Big Ten champs.

Niemo’s Notes:

  • Hallelujah!  Victor Davila stepped up and put his big boy pants on for the Hokies.  Tech had been looking for a fourth option on offense all season, but tonight the freshman was one of their top options.  Davila scored 12 points in the second half to really keep Tech even until they could ultimately pull away behind Delaney’s free throws.  Lewis Witcher also helped in the first half.  Witcher and Davila combined for 10 of the Hokies 34 first half points Jeff Allen and Cheick Diakite battled foul trouble.
  • Coming into this game, VT was only averaging 16.0 ppg from players not part of the law firm of Allen, Delaney, & Vassallo.  Tonight Davila had 16 all by himself.  The Hokies were getting 76% of their points from the 3 Amigos before this game, but The Others had 33 points (43%) against elon.  This is good news.
  • The bad news is the guards not named Delaney (Dorenzo Hudson, Terrell Bell, and Hank Thorns) had just 7 points in 54 minutes (2/8 shooting).  At least the bigs stepped up.
  • Malcolm Delaney must lead the nation in points in the last few minutes of games.  He had 12 of his 15 points, all from the free throw line, in the final 2:12.  Malcolm had 10 free throws in the final 67 seconds to seal the win, similar to the mount st. mary’s game.  Delaney needs to find ways to get more involved in the offense, especially with how the other guards are struggling.
  • A win is a win is a win.  Let’s get ready for the cheese-eaters!  Have a Happy Hokie Day, y’all!

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

Game Preview | elon (1-2) @ VT (3-2) | Wed., 7 PM


  • Spread: VT favored by 20 (wow!  really?)
  • All Time Series: VT 12-7
  • Streak: VT – 2 straight (only games since 1954 were in 2000 and 2007)
  • Last Meeting (11/9/07): VT 69-64 Recap | Game Film | In the Hokie’s first game of last season, Jeff Allen scored 19 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, pilfered 4 steals, and rejected 2 shots on his way to earning ACC Rookie of the Week honors

elonThe Hokies head home to the Cassell where they hope to snap their two game losing streak from Puerto Rico against the elon phoenix.  Tech is 2-0 at home this season and look to build some momentum before their Big(11)10/ACC Challenge Showdown with #19/25 wisconsin next Monday.

Random Movie Reference: Virginia Tech needs to get their offense going in this game and establish an identity.  That may be possible since elon is not a strong team and should be easy prey for the Hokies.  To steal a bit from Swingers, the Hokies are a big bear with claws and with fangs.  And elon is just like this little bunny, who is cowering in the corner.  Tech needs to find their offense and figure out how to kill the bunny.  Instead of just batting the scared bunny around [settling for poor outside shots and playing in the half court set all the time], the Hokies need to use their fangs and claws [their athleticism, speed, and superior height and post game] and kill the bunny.  Pressure defense leads to turnovers which leads to fast breaks which leads to easy buckets.  Tech needs to start pushing the ball, and attack the rim in the half court.  This will even help the outside game as they can penetrate and kick out for open looks from three, or attack the tin and score or get to the line.


[Wow, you are still reading after that Swingers  tangent?]

Like I said, elon is… well… not good.  At least not so far this season.  They lost by 45 to wvu (avoided being doubled by just two points), beat southern virginia by 28 (who the heck is southern virginia???), and lost to tennessee-martin by 17 (is this school named for former tennessee volunteer QB Tee Martin???). 

elon has four of their top five scorers back from last season, so they do have experience.  The phoenix are led by senior Brett James, who topped the team in scoring last season.  He is averaging 15.3 ppg.  Ola Atoyebi, their second leading scorer, is also back and averaging 10.7 ppg.

The phoenix are chuckers.  They will launch the three at every opportunity, averaging seven makes per game on 17 attempts (41% which is darn good).  Strangely, they are terrible from the foul line, hitting just 58%.  Tech must defend the perimeter well and fight through screens.  For the most part, the Hokies have been great against the three, holding opponents to just 26%.  That’s bad news for the phoenix.

On defense, elon has been awful.  wvu shot 59% from the field and tennessee-martin lit them up for 52%.  Their major weakness is in the paint.  They play just four guys that weigh over 185 pounds, and even their two 6’8″ low post players are just 220 lbs (Ola Atoyebi) and 210 lbs (Adam Constantine).  Jeff Allen should be able to have a huge game just like last year if the Hokies feed him the ball enough.  I’d post up Dorenzo Hudson some too against their guards to take advantage of his size.

Probability of a VT Win: 84%


  • Private school in Elon, NC with ~5k undergrad and 500 grad students.
  • Only 32% of their students are from NC; 8% are from VA.
  • FCS (I-AA) in football and just missed the playoffs this season.
  • elon is a member of the Southern Conference, VT’s home from 1921-1965.
  • elon was 14-19 last year but surprised everyone by making the Southern Tournament finals before losing to davidson and Mr. Curry.
  • elon was 7-23 in 2006-07.
  • elon features four players from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • elon was known as the fighting Christians until 1999. That year, they entered Division I athletics and decided they wanted a more universal appeal. phoenix was picked since the school had suffered a horrible fire in the early 1900’s, but they “rose from the ashes” like a phoenix. And there are some religious ties to a phoenix.
  • Frank Haith, miami’s head basketball coach, went to elon.
  • Other alums: Ward Burton, Jim Morris (miami’s head baseball coach… yeesh, the canes sure love elon), Jack McKeon (former MLB Manager), and Country Joe West (MLB umpire).

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

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