Hope is a dangerous thing. The Hokies, who fell to 9-19 after today’s 60-56 loss to north carolina, have given fans hope in the last five games by playing tough defense and keeping games close, or at least interesting, for the most part.
However, despite much improved play over the last several games, the Hokies have only one win to show for their efforts. Today’s loss was an even tougher pill to swallow because it means a losing record at home (8-10) for the Hokies for only the second time in the 53 year history of Cassell Coliseum.
Tech started slowly (shocking, we know), but so did the tar heels. After falling behind 11-6, the Hokies used a 10-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Freshmen Devin Wilson and Trevor Thompson played particularly well against the heels. They didn’t seem intimidated or overwhelmed. They still made some freshmen mistakes, but they’re showing the league’s best that they can compete.
Wilson finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Thompson had 8 points and 6 rebounds.
Back to the game. After taking that 16-11 lead, unc woke up and closed the half with a 17-5 run that put them up 28-21 lead at the break.
The Hokies, remember, were without Adam Smith, Ben Emelogu, and of course, Cadarian Raines, who did not see a single second of action in his final home game ever as a Hokie. Officially, Raines was out because of an ankle injury, even though he warmed up before both halves and didn’t seem to be favoring either ankle.
In the second half, unc’s James McAdoo finally came to life and started gashing Tech’s defense with a seemingly endless supply of thunderous (and uncontested) dunks. He scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half.
Still, the Hokies didn’t quit. Late in the game, despite trailing by nine thanks to a bad offense charge call against Jarell Eddie that negated a bucket, which then led to a McAdoo dunk, Tech managed to keep it close and even cut the lead to three late.
Eddie, who led all scorers with 18 points, converted a layup with 5.6 seconds left to make it a 59-56 game. Leslie McDonald made one of two free throws to seal the four-point win for the tar heels, who have now won 11 straight games, their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has lost 14 of its last 15 games and have only one win in 2014. With two games left, the Hokies are in dead last in the ACC standings. Tech has clinched the 15th seed in the ACC tournament (i.e. last place for the third straight year), and they’ll play on Wednesday, March 12, against the No. 10 seed, which is miami right now.
One other note on this game: As we mentioned earlier, senior Cadarian Raines, who hasn’t played much at all this season, didn’t see one minute of playing time today. It was his last appearance in a Hokie uniform at the Cassell, and he didn’t get in the game. That just seems odd, but then again, this whole season has been odd in terms of players disappearing on the bench for unexplained reasons. Remember that guy Marshall Wood?