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 24. Allen 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 points. vmi 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.
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.