Special shout out to Ben Floyd, one of our generous donors!
Stat of the day: VT is 12-3 in ACC overtime games.
This was a tale of two games:
- How the Hokies got to overtime
- How VT played in overtime
The first one is a bit of mystery and partially luck (that we were playing an equally poor offensive team). The Hokies, on offense, looked just as they had in the previous 8 games in regulation. Check out these offensive numbers/data:
- VT shot just 36% from the field during regulation
- They were 2/14 (14%) on 3-pointers
- Tech did not make a FG for over 10 minutes during the last part of the first half
- VT did not score period for 5-1/2 minutes late in the second half
- Eddie was 2/7 on FGs and 0/3 on 3s
- Brown was 0/9 on FGs and 0/2 on 3s
So how the heck did Tech take tech to overtime? Simple:
- We actually played defense
- We own the other, lesser tech
VT showed the 2-3 zone in the first half and georgia tech immediately burned it with a 3. Keep in mind georgia tech is the worst 3-point shooting team in the ACC at 30%. So VT scrapped the zone until late in the 2nd half, but then used it exclusively down the stretch. And the zone worked very well. It allowed the Hokies to pack it in down low against Carter, who was killing VT early in the 2nd half (he didn’t score in the final 22 minutes of the game). The zone allowed the Hokies to collapse inside without losing spacing in the rest of their defense, which prevented guys from getting wide open looks or bigs passing for wide open layups because the help D never showed up (in the zone they were already there). And VT dared the jackets to shoot it from outside, which they did not do all that well until they were down big in OT. Also, the jackets’ bigs had to shoot jumpers from outside their comfort zone.
Equally important is what the Hokies didn’t do on defense all game – and that’s not doubling the post and not pressing when VT got behind. Time and time again the Hokies have been burned with both those strategies on defense, so it was good to see VT stick with something else, and have success with it. Kudos to JJ for the zone and avoiding going to things that haven’t worked.
Rebounding was also fantastic for the Hokies on the defensive end — gt grabbed just 9 offensive boards in 41 opportunities (that’s 22% — average is 33%). Great job by Barksdale (tied a career high with 10 boards), Eddie (7), Raines (6), and even Green (5 defensive rebounds) getting on the glass and limiting gt to 6 second chance points.
Then, in overtime, VT remembered they own the other tech.
- 10-3 vs gt since joining the ACC in basketball
- 7-2 in football
Plus, we saw the Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown of the first 7 games. Brown used penetration and then a kick-out to get Eddie a wide open, in rhythm 3-pointer… and he made it! Eddie had been just 11/50 (22%) from deep over his last 9 games. But most of those were rushed, off balance 3s. Penetration and the kick got him a nice look and that looked like the Eddie of old – nothing but net.
Then, when gt got the lead down to 2, Brown drove twice and got two nice runners for his only two made FGs of the game. He was pressing in the 2nd half trying to get the crowd to shut up about his airball, and was making things worse. But he didn’t force things and let the game come to him in OT and it paid off. He was the key guy in the extra frame and helped the Hokies salt things away. Plus, he was 6/6 from the line for the game (just a 61% FT shooter coming in.
Special shout out to EG and C.J. Barksdale, too. EG keeps getting it done with 21 in the 2nd half and regulation. We finally got him loose in transition after some missed gt shots, VT rebounds (Tech’s rebounding was fantastic), and outlet passes to Erick who burned the gt defense. He really looks like a NBA guy right now.
Barksdale, who was benched just a week ago, tied his career highs in points (11) and rebounds (10). It was the first double-double of his career.
There are obviously still glaring problems on offense, but at least Tech was fun to watch again for 5 minutes (in OT). And the defense was much better, albeit against the worst shooting team in the ACC. Still, a win is a win and it was nice to see the guys fight on the road and pull it out after falling down by 11. Great win!