Tag Archive | "120909-vmi"

Recap | VT (7-1) 98, vmi (4-4) 73

Box Score

VPI defeated old school rival vmi, and their tsunami/kamikaze style of play, by a 98-73 score to capture their fourth straight win and seventh in eight games.  The Hokies used a 10-0 run to start the second half, including six points by Jeff Allen, to blow open a seven-point halftime lead.   Tech led by at least 11 the rest of the way and continued to pour it on the keydets for Tech’s first blowout win of the season.  The 98 points for the Hokies was the most they’ve scored in regulation since Seth Greenberg’s second game as the VT Head Coach, when they beat maryland-eastern shore 102-50.

The game was a story of two halves and two players for the Hokies.  It was the Zo Show, Dorenzo Hudson, in the first half and the Jeff Allen Project in the second half.  Hudson had a career high 19 points… at the half (his previous game high was 15 in the 2 OT thriller against duquesne last year and his game high this year had been 10 against campbell).  Zo finished with 24Allen also had 24 and recorded a double-double… in the second half.  After scoring just six in the first 20 minutes and grabbing just two rebounds, Jeff went for 18 and 11 in the second frame to finish with 24 points and 13 rebounds.

This game saw the Hokies get a double double-double.  Jeff Allen had 24 and 13, as I mentioned above, and Victor Davila had his first career double-double with 13 points and a career high 10 boards.  This marked Allen’s 21st career double-double and second of the season.  His point total and rebound total were season highs.

Tech also limited the keydets on defense.  This was just the second time all seen vmi was held under 90 pointsvmi led the nation in points per game coming in at 95 ppg and had the fastest tempo in the country.  The keydets’ philosophy is to push the ball and get a decent (oroften times forced) shot off as quickly as possible, then strangle you with a risk-taking full court press.  The result is they give up a lot of easy buckets but eventually tire out the opponent.  Tech did tire at times but their size and athleticism advantage was too much.

The Hokies absolutely dominated the pee wee keydets on the glass and inside.  Tech outrebounded vmi by a 59-36 margin on the glass including 27 offensive rebounds.  In fact, Tech had more offensive rebounds (27) than the short in stature keydets had on defense (22).  The Hokies scored point after point in the paint and finished the game with 68 points in the paint, most of which were layups or dunks.  That’s more points then they averaged period coming into tonight.  Tech had just one made three-pointer on the night in eight attempts, but they didn’t need it the way they crushed vmi inside.

The Hokies yet again won the points off turnovers battle, beating vmi 18-8 in this column.  The Hokies had 15 turnovers for the game, 50% more than usual, but you have to expect that with vmi’s full court press and the extra possessions it creates.  Tech was able to kill the keydet press most of the night, throwing it up-court and getting odd man rushes in transitions for easy buckets.

Let’s give credit where credit is due: the much maligned Dorenzo Hudson had an absolutely great game.  Granted, some of his scoring had to do with the fact the Hokies were playing an up-tempo, full court pressing team, which creates more opportunities.  But it was Zo that was taking advantage of them.  Zo also had a solid game against georgia so he seems to be finding his place with this team.  Hudson is going at the hoop a lot and is getting rewarded.  He had a couple of three point plays in the first half and had most of his buckets in transition or on the offensive glass, similar to what he did against the bulldogs Sunday.  He is a tall for a guard, 6’5″, and thick at 220 lbs.  Zo reminded me of Jamon Gordon when I saw him in high school and now he is playing more like him – attacking the rim and selling out on defense.  Hudson has even improved from the free throw line.  He started the season a pathetic 5 of 14 from the stripe but has hit 6 of his last 8 attempts.  He just needs to quit shooting threes – Hudson is under 20% on the season and his release is very odd, almost a two-handed flip.  He was 0 of 4 tonight.

The one downside was the play and the injury to Malcolm Delaney.  Malcolm hurt his right (shooting) thumb in the first half and had to have it taped.  Once he was removed from the game after the Hokies were safely ahead, he iced it on the bench.  Delaney was held to single digits, nine points, for the first time this season.  He reached double digits in every game but one last year and was 11th in the nation at 22 ppg coming into this game.  He was just 3 of 14 from the floor, though he did hit Tech’s only three-pointer of the night.  Malcolm also got another talking-to by the officials at one point and it may have cost him a charge call later in the game.

On defense the Hokies did a solid job except when they tired late in the first half.   For the second game in a row they shut down the opponent’s best player.  On Sunday it was georgia’s Trey Thompkins, who scored just five points, 10 below his average, and did not make a field goal all game.  Today it was vmi’s Keith Gabriel.  Gabriel was averaging 21 coming in to tonight but managed just two points on 1 of 12 shooting.

Austin Kenon had 26 points for the keydets to lead all scorers and Ron Burks had 19.  vmi shot just 37% from the field and 32% on threes, both below their averages.  They only attempted 25 threes tonight.  I say “only” because they were averaging 38 per game coming in.  The Hokies did a good job defending vmi on the perimeter where at times they would have five guys spread out behind the line.

The 98 points allowed by the keydets actually meets their average on the season.   On offense when they drove and may have had easy layups, or open looks from the outside against other teams, the taller, more athletic Hokies were able to block the shots.  Tech had an incredible 15 blocks for the game, tying a school record, led by Terrell Bell with four.

This game was the good, the bad, and the ugly early.  The Hokies asserted themselves on the glass early, grabbing three offensive rebounds on their first offensive possession.  Tech had an incredible seven offensive rebounds by the first media timeout.  But they also had four early turnovers and were just 3 of 12 to start from the field against a team that allows opponents to shoot over 50%.

Then the Hokies started dominating inside, coincidentally as Jeff Allen entered the game off the bench for the third straight game.  He had six quick points, including the play of the game on a nice lob by JT Thompson that Allen grabbed and stuffed with one hand.  Jeff also had an acrobatic layup where he tried to dunk on vmi’s 7-footer, got bumped, and adjusted to shoot a soft push-shot as he fell to the deck.

Tech turned an early 7-6 deficit into a 18-7 lead thanks to a 12-0 run.  In fact, the Hokies held the keydets without a field goal for more than eight minutes as VT went up 26-10.  This was against a team that leads the nation with 98 ppg!  But then the Hokies tired.  On defense they were getting beat off the dribble and the help defenders were late getting to either the man penetrating or the three-point shooter on the perimeter.  The result was runs of 7-0 and 8-1 later in the half to cut the Hokie lead to just four at 41-37.  Tech did get the last three points of the half and led 44-37, even though the ACC’s leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney, was just 1 of 8 from the field and had just two points.  He also had to have his right thumb taped in the first half.

Cadarian Raines scored his first point as a Hokie tonight on a late free throw and the team’s heart-and-soul, Paul Debnam, had a late block and breakaway dunk for his first points of the season.  That sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Sometimes I’m smarter than I look – I said the Hokies would surpass 90 in this one and hold vmi in the 70s.  OK, enough tooting my own horn, that was a fairly easy prediction.  I won’t clear out my savings and head to Vegas.

The Hokies return to action on Saturday to face the nancy lions at penn state.  Please come to the TechHoops.com Viewing Party at Hard Times Cafe in Arlington to watch the game with us! Tip-off is 7 PM.  Go to www.hardtimes.com for directions.

Cope-acabana’s Take

Freshmen Ben Boggs and Erick Green are getting quality minutes on the floor and as you would expect – they are showing flashes of being very good players, but they are also making freshman mistakes. Boggs has to understand that he’s not in high school any more. He seems to be suffering from Hank Thorns disease – in that he thinks he is a 6-9 power forward and can drive the lane against three guys bigger than him and easily lay the ball in the hoop. Uh, no. Penetrate, kick out, take the open three and play defense – that’s your role right now. Stop trying to do everything all at once.

As for Green, he’s very quick and is tied for second on the team in steals (6), but he, like Boggs, tries to do too much and looks overly excited on the court. He can be slap happy and picks up unnecessary fouls. But, he is quick and will mature with more experience. The Hokies have a solid backcourt for the next four years.

What can you say about Zo? Hudson had a career game, the kind we’ve been waiting for for the last three years. He started off missing three pointers and it looked like it was going to be another game of Zo shooting shots he can’t make. Instead, he took his game inside the paint where he excels and went off for a career-high 24 points. Notorious for missing breakaway dunks, Hudson crushed a fast break jam in the second half as the crowd held its collective breath while a few people shouted “Just lay it up! Don’t dunk it!”

The Jeff Allen Project – i.e. bring Jeff off the bench to limit his early and often foul trouble – is working surprisingly well. Allen also had a season-high 24 points.

Lastly, the Hokies still struggle with the loose balls. I’m not sure if they’re getting outmuscled or are just aren’t getting the bounces, but whatever the case, they are going to need to start winning those, especially when ACC play begins and every possession is key.

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game Recaps, GamesComments (6)

Preview | vmi (4-3) @ VT (6-1) | Wed., 7:30 PM


VPI takes on their old school rival, vmi, at the Cassell on Wednesday in a game that will feature polar opposites in terms of style of play.  This game is like the tortoise versus the hare: vmi is a run-and-gun, high octane offense and risk-taking full court press defense, against the Hokies half court style of play.  The Hokies are coming off their best game of the year, a 74-62 win over georgia.  While Tech obviously has a ton more talent than the keydets, their system will present plenty of challenges for the Hokies.


vmi is #1 in the nation in terms of tempo.  In other words, they average the highest number of possessions per game (86.3) of the 347 Division I basketball teams.  No one is even close to them.  By contrast, the Hokies average 63.9 possessions per game, which is somewhere in the low 300s nationally.  vmi leads the nation in points per game with 95.1 and has eclipsed the century mark three times this season.  They also give up a lot of points and have seen their opponent go over 100 three times also.  In fact, their opponents are averaging an eye-popping 98.7 ppg.

This contest will be 129th all time between VPI and vmi.  The Hokies hold a 85-43 edge in the series, but vmi won the last time the two teams play, an embarrassing 72-68 loss in Lexington in 2004 (Greenberg’s second season).  Heck, even ricky stokes didn’t lose to vmi.  The keydets have won two of the past seven meetings and that includes a five point loss and a one point loss, but the Hokies have been victorious in 36 of the 40 meetings since 1955.  The series dates back over 100 years.  The first meeting was in February of 1909, a 15-9 vmi victory (talk about a difference in pace).  NHL All-Star games have more scoring than that.

The Hokies are led by junior Malcolm Delaney, who is now 11th in the nation in scoring at 22.6 ppg (and leads the ACC by a full five points per game).  That would be the ninth highest scoring average in a season for the Hokies if he can keep it up.


  • Don’t get sucked in: Every basketball player dreams of playing up-tempo, fire-at-will basketball.  It is easy to get sucked into vmi’s pace and start forcing shots.  In fact, their system encourages you to do so.  Guys are going to have wide open dunks and three point shots.  While you obviously want to take the wide open looks, you have to remember your system.  When a wide open shot isn’t there, pull it back out and set up the offense.
  • Legs: Tech has a fairly deep team, especially with Cadarian Raines healthy.  They can go five deep on their bench.  But vmi’s pace will really test the Hokies’ endurance, especially Delaney.  And if you are tired, vmi is going to expose you.  If you don’t hustle up court, someone is going to get a wide open look or you commit a foul playing defense with your hands instead of your feet.
  • Protect the ball: The Hokies do not have a lot of strong ballhandlers.  Delaney is Tech’s only proven quality ballhandler.  Erick Green appears to be solid, too.  But he will have to play a lot more minutes since Delaney will likely tire running at this pace.  It is also important that off-guards like Ben Boggs and Dorenzo Hudson be able to handle the rock against this press.  Tech did an excellent job against clemson’s press last year, to the point where they actually called it off.  There is no chance vmi does that, but the Hokies should have some confidence against aggressive presses.  The way the Hokies beat the tigers press was by passing (lateral passes or vertical passes over the press), not by dribbling through it.  Speaking of passing…
  • Make the extra pass and keep pouring it on: If the Hokies make that extra pass on offense, there are going to be guys wide open available.  vmi’s system requires them to run a kamikaze style press, desperately trying to get steals to setup their quick strike offense.  To be honest, they don’t care if you score quickly because it means they get the ball back quickly and can wear you down with tempo.  There is a reason why teams are shooting 54% against vmi.  If VT can beat the press and go at the hoop, someone is going to be wide open for a dunk or a three.  Also, even if VT gets up in this game, no lead is safe.  You have to keep taking advantage of open looks when they present themselves, especially since vmi will keep trapping even in the half court set. 
  • Rebounding: On offense, VT can do just fine only sending three on the offensive glass.  vmi has no inside game (they don’t play anyone over 6’6″) and will give up a lot of offensive rebounds (42% of opponents misses are rebounded by the other team).  And at least two guys need to focus on getting back to slow up the vmi attack (if not more).   On defense, vmi shoots a LOT of threes, so long rebounds will follow.  All five Hokies need to put a body on someone when the shot goes up.  Defenders on the off-side of where the miss goes can look to leak up court for transition buckets.
  • H2O: No beer references in this six pack.  Even we, the fans, are going to have to be well hydrated for this rocket-paced game.  Your eyeballs will be exhausted by the first media timeout from this one!


vmi will do two things from the time they get off the bus: start launching shots and start pressing.  Heck, be careful going to get some popcorn that a keydet doesn’t run up in the stands and trap you trying to get to the concession stand.  And they will shoot the ball from the urinals of Cassell if they are open.  Their system is based on shooting the ball as quickly as possible and forcing their opponent to either shoot or turn the ball over as quickly as possible.  Sometimes it works (their 111-103 win at kentucky last year), sometimes it doesn’t (their 103-59 loss to richmond earlier this year).  Since the Hokies play good, sound defense, and likely won’t force shots on offense, I wouldn’t expect 100 points in this game for either team.  But we shall see.

A big reason why vmi is #1 in points per game is because they are also #1 in three-pointers made.  They shoot 39 threes per game on average!  And shoot a very respectable 35% on those threes.  In comparison, VT shoots just 16 threes per game and hits just 31%.  In the same number of games played, VT has shot just 15 more three-pointers than vmi has made!   The keydets have actually attempted more three point shots than two point shots on the season.  They prefer the three since they can get it up quickly and only need to make one of three to have the same production as shooting 50% on twos.  So Tech must guard everyone from everywhere on the floor and box out once the shot goes up.

The keydets have four guys averaging double-digit points per game.  The leader is sophomore guard Keith Gabriel who is 24th in the nation with 20.9 ppg.  He shoots a solid 38% on threes and has made as many as six in a game twice.  Keith does not pass very much so Tech needs to go aggressively at him and dare him to dish.  He only averages 1.4 assists per game, fourth best on the team.

Michael Sparks and Austin Kenon average 17.3 and 16.3 ppg respectively.  Both are also guards.  Sparks is deadly from three point range, shooting a net-blistering 49% (28 of 57) on the season.  70% of his shots have been from behind the arc, so VT doesn’t need to respect his ability to drive.  Kenon is their top ballhandler and is very quick at 5’11”.  He will drive and score on layups if you don’t get back, or dish to an open man.  Kenon leads vmi in assists at over four per game.

vmi is a young team (five of their top six scorers are underclassmen), but they will not be in awe of the Hokies and the ACC.  Most of these guys were a part of the win in Rupp Arena at kentucky last year and will want nothing better than to beat an ACC team.  They also played uva tough on the road last year before fading at the end.


Numbers Virginia Tech vmi
2009-10 W-L 6-1 4-3
2008-09 W-L 19-15 24-8
Conference ACC Big South
PPG 66.7 (11th) 95.1
Pts Against 59.1 (4th) 98.7
FG % 41% (12th) 42%
3-Pt % 31% (12th) 35%
FT % 70% (3rd) 67%
Leading …    
Scorer Delaney – 22.6 Gabriel – 20.9
Rebounder Allen – 7.7 Burks – 7.4
Assists Delaney – 4.0 Kenon – 4.4
Steals Allen – 2.0 Burks – 3.1
Blocks Allen – 1.4 Gabriel – 1.3



Position Virginia Tech vmi
Guard 23 Delaney – 6’3″ 1 Lonon – 5’11”
Guard 5 Hudson – 6’5″ 21 Gabriel – 6’2″
Forward 1 Bell – 6’6″ 15 Burks – 6’4″
Forward 33 Thompson – 6’6″ 11 Okoye – 6’5″
Forward/Center 14 Davila – 6’8″ 30 Gore – 6’6″



  • Tech is 50-10 all time at home against vmi in basketball and 15-1 at the Cassell (the only loss was in 1997 when the late Bobby Hussey was the Head Coach)
  • In addition to the 128 meetings in basketball, the Hokies and keydets have met 79 times in football.  Tech leads the series 49-25-5 but the two teams haven’t played since 1984.  The two teams used to meet every year on Thanksgiving Day in Roanoke in the real Turkey Bowl.
  • vmi was founded in 1839
  • It is a Senior Military College and is public
  • All their students are undergraduates with an enrollment of ~1400
  • New cadets, or “rats”, have to walk the “Ratline”.  It is allegedly similar to walking through the stands at a Philadelphia Eagles game wearing the opponents jersey.
  • Their mascot is Moe the kangaroo
  • vmi was the last US military school to allow women to attend, with the first entering in 1997.  That only came after a Supreme Court ruling (in case you were wondering, the US won 7 to 1 over vmi in that ruling).  This prompted the popular bumper sticker: “Women at vmi?  What’s is next?  Men at uva?”
  • Judge Clarence Thomas of “is that a [private] hair on your Coke?” fame sent his son to vmi.

Famous Alums:

  • James Lane – who was one of the original professors at Virginia Tech and is whom Lane Hall and Lane Stadium are named for
  • George Marshall
  • James Hickey – commanded Operation Red Dawn which captured Saddam Hussein
  • Bobby Ross – famous football coach
  • Fred Willard
  • Around 10 Medal of Honor recipients and nine Four-Star Generals

Posted in 2009-10 Season, Game PreviewsComments (4)

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