Posted on 22 December 2012.
The Hokies absolutely stole a victory from the jaws of defeat in Vegas on Saturday night, capturing a 66-65 win in the Las Vegas Classic Semi-Finals. Tech will face the winner of cal-state-northridge and colorado state (just assume it will be colorado state) on Sunday night at 11:30 PM EST in the Championship Game.
When I say VT stole this win, I mean it. The Hokies took a 2-0 lead to open the game, then trailed for the following 34 minutes. With just under 5 minutes to go, Erick Green put the Hokies on top 53-51 from the foul line. The final 5 minutes were anything but pretty, but Tech led 55-53 with 20 seconds to go. With the shot clock running out, Erick Green was stripped of the ball and Lemon, Jr. outran the Hokies for a layup to tie the game with 9.7 seconds left. After a timeout, Tech’s Robert Brown passed to Erick Green for a potential game-winning shot at the buzzer but just as with the wvu game, it was not meant to be and we were headed to overtime.
In the extra frame, bradley took a 65-60 lead after a wild sequence. VT stole the ball down 63-60 with 50 seconds left but Marquis Rankin committed Tech’s 24th turnover of the game and instead of having a chance to tie the game, bradley converted to go up 5 with 40 seconds left. After Joey van Zegern made 1/2 free throws, VT trailed 65-61. The braves missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Erick Green drove and got a 3-point play to make it 65-64 bradley. Then, an unexpected hero took center court. Walk-on Christian Beyer stole the ball and passed to Erick Green to put the Hokies ahead 66-65 with 18 seconds left.
After bradley’s final timeout, Lemon, Jr. missed two free throws but Tech fumbled the ball out of bounds with 9 seconds left. Lemon, Jr. had another shot to win the game but missed, and after a scramble, VT had their victory.
Erick Green recorded a career high 31 points and 8 rebounds. The 31 points marked his 11th straight 20+ point game to start the season, but his first time ever reaching 30 points in his career.
I mentioned Tech’s 24 turnovers. bradley came into this game as one of the leading defenses in the nation in terms of steals and turnovers caused, and VT committed 16 first half turnovers (while compiling just 1 assist). That’s, uh, not good.
And stop me if you read this after the wvu game — but a bad 3-point shooting team lit up the Hokies. bradley averaged less than four made 3-pointers per game and shot just 27% from deep… they had six made threes at the half. After starting 5/9 from deep, they cooled off considerably, finishing just 8/23 (35%) from deep. They had their typical balanced scoring with Simms-Edwards leading them with 15.
Tech trailed by as many as 13 in the first half and were behind 35-25 at the break. And of those 25 points, Green had 11 and Raines 10. Raines, who had been held scoreless in the last two games, responded with 16 points (tying a career high) and 9 rebounds. Jarell Eddie, who had just 2 at the half, finished with 12 but was just 2/8 from deep. Robern Brown tallied just 2 points on 1/6 FGs, his second straight rough game.
Tech was just 25% on 3s, meaning for just the 2nd time this season the team that shot a higher % from deep (bradley in this case), lost.
MAJOR PROPS to walk-on Christian Beyer – he had 3 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 steals (including the game-winner) in 27 minutes. We’ll see you tomorrow night on CBS College Sports! Late night, baby!