Let’s take a look back at the Hokies road win to move to 4-0.
What worked well:
3-POINT SHOOTING: 14/22? 64% Seriously? That’s incredible, especially considering this was Tech’s first game away from the friendly confines of Cassell. Your % is supposed to drop on the road, not go through the roof. Take our Marshall Wood’s 1/5 (stop shooting so much!) and VT was 13/17 (better than 75%). The Hokies are now #1 in the ACC in 3-point % and 3s-made at 46% and 42 respectively.
Will Johnston: Dude is 8/13 from behind the arc on the year. Tip of the cap to the microwave! 3/3 last night.
Jarell Eddie: He had it all working on a career night. 77% on FGs, 100% on 3s, 90% on FTs. That’s as close to perfect as you’ll see other than Christian Laettner’s performance in that epic NCAA Tournament game vs kentucky (Laettner was a perfect 20/20 on FGs+FTs that night for 31 points and had he missed one shot, including that shot at the buzzer, duke would have lost).
Wood’s Rebounding: I dogged his 3-point shooting above (3/16 on the season), but he snagged 11 rebounds last night and now has 6 more rebounds than Barksdale in similar minutes. That’s why he was in there at the end.
FT SHOOTING: Tech was #1 in the ACC in FT% last year heading into the final month. They still managed to finish 2nd, but we saw a huge drop-off down the stretch including a real stinker at fsu that cost VT the game and their first ACC win in Tallahassee. After missing 3 straight critical FTs with Tech down 2 points and 5 minutes to go, the Hokies were 18/19 after that to close out the game, including 12/12 by EG. That’s clutch.
We’re #1: Tech is #1 in Scoring Offense in the ACC! I know, I know, we’ve played up-tempo cupcakes, and it is only 4 games, but did you ever think you’d see the day?
What Needs Fine Tuning:
3-POINT DEFENSE: Tech is #1 in the ACC in 3-Point Defense but that is more because of the first 3 games. Last night Tech was lazy getting out on open shooters, almost expecting them to miss. Armstrong who was maybe 6-foot and couldn’t leap over a phonebook was allowed to go 4/11 from deep (if he was any good he’d have hit at least 6). And Eddie did a decent job getting a hand in Simpson’s face but he needed to be out on him and take the 3 away better at times. Force him to drive and let the D help. They didn’t exactly have a lot of options to pass to.
EASY BUCKETS: VT was 14/22 from behind the arc but just 10/31 inside it. EG was just 2/11 inside the arc last night, the first time he’s struggled with his pull-up jumper or finishing off the drive this season. The Hokies missed numerous layups, short runners, and Raines was off last night. He just looked uncomfortable on his post moves (other than his monster dunk). One time I think it was because he was afraid he was going to step on this little dude that was laying in the lane. Tech needs to be better and attacking the tin. Try and flush it, blocks be damned. Usually you’ll at least get a foul call out of those.
KILL MO: When the spartans got rolling, they really got rolling. In both halves last night Tech blew a 14-point lead and fell behind. What happened? On offense, if unc-g took away Tech’s 3-point looks, VT couldn’t score. Also, 10 turnovers in the first half and some really bad passes were a problem. The Hokies must find a better midrange game to beat better teams – you can’t expect to hit over half your 3-point shots every night. And on defense, Tech’s help/transition defense was weak during those runs. The Hokies have not done a good job of rotating this year to date.
JvZ looked tentative last night on offense. Good hands are an attitude and Joey had a serious case of alligator arms last night. It cost him two critical buckets.
Wow, check out the plus/minus from Monday night’s 9-point win over the spartans. It will surprise you (or at least it surprised me).
Eddie had a career night, shooting lights out. He was 7/9 on FGs, 5/5 on 3s, and 9/10 on FTs. Yet he had a negative plus/minus. What does that tell you? Well, there are a couple of possibilities.
Eddie didn’t play that great on the defensive end and Simpson for unc-g was more or less matching him on points (25 points); OR
Tech wasn’t playing very good defensive when Eddie was in, especially guarding the perimeter and the defensive glass (unc-g had 11 made 3-pointers and 11 offensive rebounds but I don’t have the breakdown of those of when Eddie was in); OR
The Hokies would have lost handily if not for Eddie’s scoring.
The nature of plus/minus tells you that you can rule out #3. If Eddie was carrying the team, then you’d expect his teammates to have similar plus/minus numbers. But Green had a +8, Barksdale, who got benched at the end in favor of Marshall Wood (-3) had a +11, and Robert Brown had an insane +21. So while Eddie was vital to the Tech win and was clutch down the stretch, you have to wonder how much his defense cost the Hokies, though he did draw the spartans’ best player. You could argue that Brown, van Zegeren, and Barksdale were in when Simpson wasn’t, but I can’t prove that.
And maybe Barksdale isn’t playing as bad as we thought – he had a solid 6 rebounds, 5 points, and 2 blocks in 22 minutes and a +11. He does appear to be working hard on defense and has a +46 on the season despite playing less than half the game on average.
The Hokies held on to win a wild one in their first road test of the season by a 96-87 score at the Greensboro Coliseum (home of this season’s ACC Tournament) against a game unc-greensboro club. Three Hokies set or tied career highs in points on the night.
The player of the game was a no-brainer – Jarell Eddie. Eddie, in his home state of North Carolina, scored a career-high 28 points (previous high was 24) on 7/9 FGs, 5/5 3s, and 9/10 FTs. He also had 3 blocks by my count and some real nice hustle plays.
Erick Green also tallied a career high 26 points to surpass his average of 23 points, but actually had an off night. He came in shooting almost 60% from the field but hit just 4/15 tonight. He was just 2/11 inside the arc, as he and the Hokies missed a ton of layups and short runners. But… Erick was 16/16 including 10/10 down the stretch to help Tech come from behind.
The spartans were just 1-45 all time against ACC teams but nearly found a way to win this game. The Hokies blew a two touchdown lead in both halves. Tech led 30-16 in the first half but the spartans went on a 17-2 run and took a 33-32 lead. The Hokies rebounded behind insanely hot 3-point shooting and went into the break up 45-41.
Once again the Hokies jumped way out in front in the second half, going ahead 65-51 on a Jarell Eddie 3-pointer. Once again the spartans answered the bell, vaulting to a 26-8 run and taking a 77-75 lead with less than 6 minutes to play.
After that, it was all Erick Green and Jarell Eddie. Eddie hit a critical 3-pointer to put Tech up 83-77 with 2:55 to play and Erick Green was 16/16 (career high in makes and attempts by far) from the stripe to help the Hokies hold on.
Marshall Wood played down the stretch in place of the slumping C.J. Barksdale and had several critical rebounds. Wood snagged 11 rebounds on the night to help the Hokies, although they did allow 11 offensive rebounds to the spartans.
Tech returns home on Friday at 2 p.m., to play appalachian state.
*Erick Green tweaked his ankle late in the game but played through it down the stretch. We’ll let you know if it is serious, but he seemed OK.