The Hokies survived their all-too-common 2nd half slump and knocked off the #17 cavs by a soccer-like 47-45 margin in charlottesville, giving VT its first ACC win of the season and first win of 2012. Tech swept the hoos in ch’ville in the two major sports this year, and it marked the third time in five years VT has won at uva in hoops after a 40-year drought. Although at times I wasn’t sure the Hokies hoops team would score more points than the football team did two months ago.
Junior guard Erick Green led the Hokies with 15 points, 12 of which were in the 2nd half. Green played the final 5 minutes with 4 fouls. But Old Man River, Dorenzo Hudson, hit the shots of the game; first a hook with 1:11 to go to put Tech ahead 44-41, then after an Evans jumper to make it 44-43, Zo swished a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to put VT up 47-43 and all but salt the game away. Zo finished with 12, giving him 28 points in two games since he started coming off the bench.
uva would get the ball back with 0.7 seconds left down 2 at the far end of the court. But the wahoos full court pass deflected off Mike Scott’s hand and went out of bounds, ending any chance for the hoos.
Both teams struggled out of the gates on offense. The Hokies had just 10 points with 6:05 to go in the first half and 13 with less than 3 minutes to go. But Tech finally got going thanks to two 3-pointers in a row by Jarell Eddie. That helped propel the Hokies to a 23-19 halftime lead.
Tech would stretch their lead out to 32-25 with 15:20 to go and they had several chances to make it even more but saw the turnover bug start to bite. The Hokies would go more than 5 minutes without scoring and uva took advantage with an 8-0 run to take the lead 33-32 at the halfway point of the 2nd half. Tech would score just 5 points over the next 11 minutes (VT had 37 with less than 4 minutes to go), committing nine 2nd half turnovers.
Down the stretch the game went back and forth with several lead changes. It looked bleak for the good guys after Mike Scott rocked a one-handed dunk to put uva up 40-37 with 4:22 to go. At that point Tech had gone another 4+ minutes without scoring since leading 37-35 with 8:40 to go. The hoos, who play excellent defense, forced Tech to shoot a lot of fallaways and deep 3s.
Erick Green put the Hokies ahead to stay at 42-41 with just under two minutes left. That set the stage for Zo’s hook and game-clinching shot from the left corner. The 3-pointer swished through, sending the Hokie faithful and one idiot in a homemade uva shirt into a frenzy.
The Hokies managed just 4 offensive rebounds while uva snagged 13. This is becoming a concern for Tech who gave up 19 offensive rebounds to unc.
The story of the game was a contrast of 3-point shooting versus free throw shooting. If you know Hokie games (at least ones not involving unc), it is all about 3-point shooting. The Hokies shot a very respectable 5/13 from deep while the hoos hit a pathetic 1/14, including an 0-for the 2nd half. VT shot 45% from the field overall while the hoos finished under 33%.
So how did the wahoos make it close? Easy. Free throws. uva had 22 FT attempts to just 7 for the Hokies. In fact, at one point, the difference was 20-2. Tech had just 2 free throw attempts until 2:20 was left in the game. The hoos only made 14/22 though, as VT hit 4/7.
The Hokies did a fantastic job limited Mike Scott, uva’s star. He had 100 career points against VT coming in, but had just 2 points in the 2nd half and just 10 for the game. Scott, Joe Harris, and Jontel Evans all had 10 to lead the wahoos. Victor Davila deserves a lot of credit for Scott’s struggles, and Barksdale and Raines also did well.
uva played without their starting center, 7-foot Assane Sene, who was out with an ankle injury suffered in their previous game.
Jarell Eddie just missed a double-double. He had 8 points and 10 rebounds. Dorian Finney-Smith put up another goose egg. He’s now scored 2 points or less in 4 of 5 ACC games.
The Hokies return to the Cassell Wednesday to take on byu. The game is at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.
Who can play the role of spoiler this year? WE CAN! uva swept the Hokies last year, effectively knocking the Hokies out of the Big Dance. Well, revenge is a dish best served cold, and the forecast calls for pretty cold weather on Sunday. We are 0-4… boo who. Let’s kick their butts!
My how the tide has turned. Over the last four years, the Hokies have finished fourth or tied for fourth in three of those years. uva, meanwhile, has been in the bottom half of the league each of the last four seasons. But now Tech sits at 0-4, and the hoos are ranked and well on their way to a first round bye.
uva is led by Mike Scott. Yep, the same Mike Scott that has been around since the dawn of time…
Mike Scott’s so old, he had a class with Thomas Jefferson
Mike Scott’s so old, he babysat Doe Doe
Mike Scott’s so old, his birth certificate is in Roman numerals
Mike Scott’s so old, he can remember the last time uva made the ACC Tournament Semi-Finals (1995)
Mike Scott’s so old, over 100 current, active NBA players are younger than him (that’s an actual fact)
All kidding aside, Mike Scott is probably the MVP of the ACC this year. He may not be the best player in the league, but he means the most to his team. He’s averaging 16.9 ppg and 8.9 rebounds per game, both top 5 in the ACC. Oh, and have I mentioned he owns the Hokies?
Mike Scott has 100 career points and 52 career rebounds against VT in 7 previous appearances. He’s scored at least 20 in the last 3 meetings and snagged over 30 total rebounds.
Is it all bad for the Hokies? Well, Assane Sene, uva’s 7-footer (yep, every team except for VT has a serviceable 7-footer) rolled his ankle at the end of the 1st half against georgia tech and, based on what I saw, won’t play Sunday (not confirmed).
If you are wondering about uva’s playing style, my buddy said it best… “You’ll want to walk down on the court, over to their bench, and punch Tony Bennett (their head coach) in the face.” And he went to wazzu, (aka: washington state), the last place he coached at.
If Bennett’s style was an animal, it would be a python. Like his dad, they love to milk the clock and keep everything in the half court. They won’t attack the offensive glass with more than a couple of guys, falling back and forcing you to beat their man defense in the half court. That said, Scott is so talented they’ll still get offensive rebounds. And uva is one of the top teams in the nation at Defensive Rebounding, while VT is the worst team in the ACC in that stat (largely thanks to unc’s 19 offensive rebounds in 36 opportunities Thursday).
They really only have 2 1/2 guys that scare you on offense, with everyone else focused on defense.
PG Jontel Evans can’t shoot, but runs the O and is great on D. Sene is their force inside with no post moves what-so-ever. Meanwhile, Scott is extremely talented, both with his back to the basket in the low post and he can go out and hit midrange jumpers. Joe Harris can shoot the lights out (as he did against Tech last year). He’s a tough match-up because of his height (6’6″). 50% of his shots are 3s, but he also shoots over 50% inside the arc. But you worry more about him on the perimeter. And Sammy Zeglinski is dangerous from 3-point range (he also won’t buy Callahan Auto Parts!).
FYI: Yes, I plan to man-up on my personal bet — I guaranteed a win against bc or I’d wear uva stuff to this game… stay tuned.
All Time: uva 81-52
At uva: uva 32-12 (but VT has won 2 of the last 4 after a 40 year drought)
In ACC Play: uva 8-7
At uva in ACC Play: uva 5-2
*Sene rolled his ankle against ga tech and did not return. If he’s out, Akil Mitchell (6’8″, Sophomore, 3.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) will likely start.
uva does not have much depth due to transfers so this could be a big issue for them.
Note: these stats are for ACC games ONLY (4 for VT, 3 for uva). uva’s defense is allowing the 2nd fewest points per game in the nation (not good news with our inept offense).
Give the hoos credit. They had to do two things to win this game:
Knock the bottom out of the net from 3-point range. (They hit 11/23, including 8 of their first 12 to build up a 15-point lead at 44-29 early in the second half.)
Figure out a way to counter the Hokies’ advantage inside. (They doubled down on Davila and Allen every time they touched it, which was rare, and this led to just 16 combined points for Allen and Davila.)
I felt so good about this game until I woke up Saturday morning and saw that the good people in Las Vegas had us at just a 5.5 point favorite. That reminded me of how tough it is to win on the road in this league. The hoos were ready and just burned the Hokies from deep.
I don’t want to say a team was lucky, but the hoos were lucky. Sammy Zeglinski hit 3 3-pointers with less than 5 seconds left on the shot clock. Jontel Evans (who I said couldn’t shoot in the preview) hit 2 miraculous jumpers. Assane Sene (a 7-footer who honest to goodness I hadn’t seen dunk all year) had 7 points and 2 dunks.
I also was drinking a French beer (Kronenbourg 1664 — which is pretty good!) during the game. Could I have jinxed us more? But that shouldn’t matter. Hats off to the hoos. They outplayed us and swept us for the first time since 2005-06 when they beat us THREE times. Is it me or are the hoos the 2006-07 nc state team? A terrible team that beat us three times that year. Let’s hope, if somehow the Hokies do play uva in the ACC Tournament, this doesn’t turn into a 3-peat.
The Hokies did make a game of it. After trailing 28-23 at the break, uva came out bombing 3s to go up 44-29. But then the Hokies went to a full court trap and closed the gap to 45-42 with a 13-1 run with 7:46 to go. VT immediately forced a turnover that led to a 3-point play by Erick Green and several other turnovers and 3-pointers by Delaney fueled the rally. But then the hoos started hitting shots again, and Tech started forcing things and missing open looks (like a missed 3 by Delaney and missed front end of a 1-and-1 by Delaney) and the hoos retook control.
Malcolm Delaney finished with 22, but 6 of those were garbage 3-pointers. However, he was the only Hokie to show up offensively today (and that’s not saying much since he was 6/19 from the floor and 4/12 from 3-point range when the game matter– he was 2/3 from deep late).
The supporting cast was terrible tonight. Jeff Allen was 5/9 from the floor and scored 11 points… but why did he only shoot 9 shots against at team that only has one low post player? Erick Green was 5/11 and had 12 points… but most of that was thanks to the press. And Bell and Davila SUCKED today. They combined for 1 point on 1 shot in the first half, and totaled just 9 points for the game (Bell was 0/2 from the floor after going 5/5 from deep on Tuesday).
For the hoos, it was their 3-point shooting that won the game on offense. They are the best 3-point shooting team in ACC play and they torched VT from deep tonight. Farrakhan hit 3 3s (despite missing the final 10 minutes of the first half with 3 fouls and part of the second half with and injury, Harris hit 4/7 from deep to carry the hoos, and Zeglinski hit those 3 3s he pulled out of his rear end to dagger the Hokies.
This loss really stings. It stings because it was the hoos. It stings because the Hokies could have really taken command of their ACC Tournament First Round bye. It stings because it was the hoos (wait, I said that). But all is not lost. Assuming bc loses at unc today, the Hokies will still be a game up in 4th place with a trip to 1-11 wake forest looming. Tech can still finish strong. Rinse this game… days like this happen… and move on to Tuesday. Don’t let this game beat you twice. The Hokies need to Bear Fight pound the deacons on Tuesday and then get ready for three HUGE games to finish – duke, bc (a contender for 4th) and at clemson (a contender for 4th).
Of note: Jeff Allen extended his double-double streak to 7 straight games with 11 points and 15 rebounds, but I think we can all agree this game was a disappointment considering he had a 6’6″ guard guarding him that couldn’t arm-curl Tattoo… maybe I jinxed him, too. (I don’t believe that for a second.)
Random note: uva is 3-0 against the T/techs of the ACC this year, 1-8 against the rest of the ACC.
FIRST HALF (uva 28, VT 23):
The first half was extremely frustrating to watch as a Hokie fan. Tech committed 8 turnovers in the first 10 minutes (3 each by Bell and Davila). The Hokies cleaned that up and didn’t turn the ball over in the final 10 minutes. But then the hoos looked like they were playing a game of horse, hitting wild shot after wild shot. Zeglinski hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired that he basically shot off the side of his shoulder. Jontel Evans hit a 3-pointer (trust me, that’s news in and of itself – it was just his 5th of the season) and then hit a fadeaway just before the half over Davila to give the hoos a 28-23 halftime lead. Believe it or not, this was actually a lot better than the game in Blacksburg in early December where the hoos led by 12 at the break.
The real story for the hoos was Joe Harris. The freshman sharpshooter knocked 3 3-pointers and had 9 at the break. Tech did not do a good job of staying on him, which you have to do against a 3-point shooting team. The hoos were 6/10 from behind the arc for the half. And that was without their leading scorer, Mustapha Farrakhan, who was on the bench for the final 10 minutes of the half with 3 fouls.
Malcolm Delaney had 10 to lead the Hokies at the break while Jeff Allen tallied 7. Erick Green had 5. Davila and Bell combined for ONE shot and ONE point. Atkins was the only guy to play off the bench and he didn’t score.
The big story was Tech’s poor decisions. They rarely fed the ball inside despite the fact uva only plays one big man. The hoos were doubling down, but that means someone should be wide open. The Hokies weren’t finding that person.
Tech came out in man defense, which I expected, to counter uva’s 3-point ability. But it was when they switched to the 2-3 zone that they really stymied the hoos. That rattled them for a while until they simply couldn’t miss at the end of the half.
Both teams shot 45% from the field but it was uva’s 3-pointers that made the difference.
Do you like watching 7-footers that can’t dunk? How about point guards that can’t shoot? Do you like seeing the shot clock near zero? Hate fast breaks? Then this is the team for you! I’m talking about the hoos, of course.
Normally I wouldn’t mock a team that has already beaten the Hokies this year. [think Family Guy-style flashback to me mocking georgia tech and Paul Hewitt last week] OK, never mind. I’ll mock away…
The hoos are bad. Real bad. [“How bad are they???”] I’m glad you asked, loyal TechHoops.com reader. They are so bad, Michael Jackson was singing about them (and I’m not talking about Thriller). They are so bad, mothers across America have formed an organization against them. [No, I’m not sure what I meant by that, either] They’re so bad… alright, you get the idea.
The real joke is the wahoo offense. It smells, offensively bad. The hoos are last in the league in PPG and FT%, and second worst in FG% in ACC games. They do shoot the 3-pointer very well though. They are tops in the league in 3-Pt% at 39% (just ahead of the Hokies) and 5th in makes per game at 7.2. But take away their 3-point shooting and they have nothing. Period. And that’s just what duke did – holding them to just 3/12 from behind the arc – 4 fewer makes and 7 less attempts than normal.
The hoos have put up some memorably bad offensive efforts this year, especially at home. They totaled just 19 in the second half against unc in their ACC home opener and lost 62-56. Their best effort at home was the 29 second half points against ga tech in a 72-64 win, but that just points to Paul Hewitt. uva scored just 42 points against maryland at home and lost by 24 (21 in each half). They scored just 20 second half points against clemson, but won at home 49-47. And in their last game against duke, they tallied just 15 second half points and lost 56-41. Yep, they have not reached the 30 points in the second half of any of their five ACC home games and average just 23 ppg in the half where scoring should go up due to urgency.
Meanwhile, the Hokie offense is riding the gravy train on biscuit wheels. They’ve scored 193 points in their last two games, an all time high for a Coach Greenberg team while at VT. They’ve vaulted up the ACC rankings and are now 3rd in the league in PPG, 1st in FG% and FT%, and 2nd in 3-Pt%. And then there’s Jeff Allen… but you can read all about that and his 19.5 PPG and 12.8 rpg over the last six games in this article: Go Nuts Big Donut.
uva had Mike Scott who scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds (he has owned the Hokies). He’s out for the year but will likely be back for a fifth year next year.
uva shot 56% in the first half, yet are a 40% team normally. The Hokies defense gave them open looks, but they were hotter than they’ve been at any other time this year.
The Hokies hadn’t found themselves yet with an injured Zo Hudson battling it out there, Green mostly on the bench, and Allen still being a foul machine. This is a much different VT team over two months later. They are 6-2 in their last 8 ACC games, uva has lost 8 of 10.
11 Green – 6-4
1 Evans 5-11
23 Delaney – 6-3
13 Zeglinski 6-1
1 Bell – 6-7
2 Farrakhan 6-4
0 Allen – 6-7
12 Harris 6-6
14 Davila – 6-8
5 Sene 7-0
The hoos play four guards almost exclusively. Believe it or not, they are even more thin inside than the Hokies with Mike Scott, their best player, out for the year and Will Sherrill, a 6-9 forward that would lose to Kyle Singler in an arm-wrestling match, also out with an injury (though he’s day-to-day and could possibly play Saturday). If Sherrill is out, the hoos will just go two deep on their bench. K.T. Harrell is a solid freshman guard with a great pull-up mid-range jumper, and Akil Mitchell will sub in for Sene inside, but he’s just 6-8 and 221, and they clearly don’t think much of him since he plays just 10-18 minutes a game despite their lack of post players.
(ACC Games Only)
Leading (All Games)
Delaney – 19.1
Farrakhan – 13.1
Allen – 10.2
Sene – 5.4
Delaney – 4.3
Evans – 3.6
Green – 1.8
Evans – 1.5
Davila – 1.1
Sene – 1.2
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
Feed the Donut, or Count Dunk-ila: The hoos can either put 7’0″ Assane Sene on Victor Davila and limit him, but put a 6’6″ unathletic guard (Harris) on Allen, or put Sene on Allen and Harris or Mitchell on Davila and let him outmuscle them inside. It’s a no win situation for the hoos. Allen will destroy the puny Harris inside, and if Sene comes over to help Jeff has shown a great ability to pass in tight to Victor. If Sene is on him, Jeff can pop out and either shoot his midrange jumper, or if Sene comes out, take him off the dribble. They need to feed the bigs, the hoos have nothing to stop them with.
Man Up: Expect man defense from the Hokies. The hoos shoot so many threes Tech will have to get out on them. This means Allen will likely have to guard someone smaller than him. If he’s on Harris, this will limit his rebounding ability as Harris plays away from the hoop.
Guard the Guards: Jontel Evans is very quick and a decent finisher near the rim. And Mustapha Farrakhan has improved greatly with his pump fake and drive. Delaney and Green have to limit this. The good news is Evans averages just 5.8 ppg and 40% from the field, and has shot just 8 3-pointers, so you can play off him. But Stoglin beat VT up the court on Tuesday. That can’t happen. Farrakhan you have to respect and come out on, so help defense will be the key.
Watch the Pump: The Hokies cannot foul 3-point shooters [cough, T-Bell, cough]. On the pump fake, get a hand in the shooters face, but don’t run out at them and into them like they have at times lately. duke shut them down from deep by fighting over picks and forcing them to pass the ball well behind the arc. Tech will need to, too.
Deadly Delaney: Malcolm was 2/18 from the field against purdue. He followed that up with 10/15 against uva. MD was 3/10 vs fsu, then 8/18 against unc. Malcolm doesn’t have two bad games in a row, and I don’t expect him to here.
Rivalry: The hoos would love to sweep the Hokies, especially at home where they have been awful most of the year. Tech cannot look a week ahead to duke. The Hokies need to have some vinegar in their piss and come out and smack the hoos, and gain some revenge for December.
Random Thought: That uva arena sure is pretty. Pretty empty and pretty quiet most of this year. I love the Cassell. Sure it is a barn, but it is a LOUD barn. Us ‘farm boys’ (that are from the same well to do counties the hoos are) have it right. It’s not about the architecture, it’s about the fans, the coach, and the team. Yep, 3 for 3.
Virginia Tech rallied from a horrendous first-half effort in which they trailed ACC rival virginia by 16 points, to pull within two points late in the second half, but it was too little too late as the Hokies lost their third straight to fall to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in ACC play.
Malcolm Delaney led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, but he got little help outside of fellow senior Jeff Allen, who was the only other Hokie to score in double figures with 12 points. Allen also led the team in rebounding with nine. Tech head coach Seth Greenberg got only two points from his bench, that being a pair of free throws from Erick Green.
Statistically, the game was a dead heat with the exception of free throw attempts; the Hokies made all four of their attempts, while the hoos made 7 of 11.
Tech fell behind early and trailed the entire game. Delaney scored the Hokies’ first seven points to keep it close, 7-10, but uva went on a 9-2 run to open up a 10-point lead and it was all downhill from there in the first half. Delaney ended up scoring 14 of Virginia Tech’s 24 first-half points.
The Hokies came out in the second half with more energy and focus and cut the lead to two, 51-53, with :20 to play in the game, but couldn’t pull it out in the end. The flat and listless first-half performance was too much to overcome.
For a team picked to finish second in the ACC, the Hokies have greatly underachieved through eight games this season. And the frustration is evident among the coaches, players and fans. Tech gets a week off for exams before hosting Penn State on Sunday, Dec. 12, at 1 p.m.
It’s the throwback gray game, people! Gray it up! Wait, wasn’t gray what the Conferates wore? And didn’t they lose? Anyway, it is good to see VT finally dedicating a game to gray. I mean, we have Orange Effect, and Maroon Monsoon, and White Out, and Black Out, why not gray? It used to be one of our colors a bazillion years ago. I can’t wait until we find records that show turquoise was one of our original colors and we start having the Turquoise Tornado Effect! game each year. Anyway, I digress…
The ACC slate kicks off for both teams on ACC Sunday Night Hoops this weekend! Sure, Tech has been a disappointing 4-3 to start, but you know that when conference play begins, the Hokies step up. The difference this year is there are lofty expectations for Virginia Tech, with the media picking them to finish second in the league.
This is a game Tech has to win. They are much better than the hoos. It is at home. So win. But VT has showed numerous flaws, especially on offense, to date. This game will be a grind, I’m sure, but if Virginia Tech can actually convert their opportunities in transition and make their layups, they should win this game and by double digits. Let’s hope the team doesn’t start pressing (mentally) though. Just play their game, and VT is better.
HO-KEYS TO WINNING:
Keep Jeff on the Floor: Jeff Allen has had a lot of foul issues this year other than the last game against purdue, but he has really had issues with uva. He got kicked out of the game at uva last year for a flying elbow and sat almost the entire first half at home with foul trouble. He’s averaged just 23 minutes per game in five games against uva, and just 8.6 points, well below his average. While Mike Scott has torn it up against the Hokies.
Good Malcolm: Delaney has not historically shot well against the hoos, hitting just 36% of his shots and just 18% from three-point range. Coming off a 2/18 effort against purdue, I expect to see Delaney really step up and have a good game. Otherwise, it might be another night where VT fails to reach even 60 points, which has happened four times already this season.
Not Great Scott: Mike Scott, uva’s big man and best player, averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds versus Tech last year. It didn’t help that Allen wasn’t around for big minutes in those games. Scott will lose focus if he isn’t involved. Don’t let him erupt early. Force him to shoot jumpers, not dunk or shoot easy layups.
Harris Teeter: Joe Harris has been the man for uva so far. He simply makes shots. VT must stay on him and not give him open looks. He’s hitting over 50% from the field, 50% exactly on threes, and 100% from the line. No open looks (Bell will be guarding him in all likelihood).
What’s a Fast Break? Tech continues to struggle to get easy buckets, especially in transition. When you don’t have a good half court offense, you have to be able to get easy points in transition. Yet VT is very selfish on breaks, rarely passing and forcing it at the hoop, or when they do pass they throw it way too early and often launch it out of bounds. Draw the defender to you, and then make the pass where your teammate has the ball in a place where he can easily finish. It’s pretty easy, people.
Pop the Cork: Get your bubbly ready! I’m hoping for a sweep this weekend as I take in the ultimate doubleheader – ACC Football Championship, and VT/uva hoops. Let’s just hope this weekend goes better than 2005, when VT lost to fsu in the football title game, then lost at duke the next day in hoops on that 40 foot shot at the buzzer. That was not a good weekend, this, will be better (I hope).
uva leads all time 79-52. But VT has won 5 of 6, and swept the series last season. VT is 7-6 against the hoos since joining the ACC.
Oh, what a golden era we live in. Virginia Tech football continues to perform at an extremely high level and will play in their fifth ACC title game (counting the game against miami in 2004) in seven years in the league, looking for their fourth title. Hokie basketball has risen to heights unseen since the Dell Curry days and has finished in the top four in the ACC in four of their six seasons. Meanwhile, uva football and basketball have all but hit rock bottom. wahoo football has endured three straight losing seasons. How bad is it? They’ve lost to duke three years in a row… in football. And uva basketball isnt’ something to brag about, either. Since uva tied for the regular season title in the ACC in 2006-07, they have gone 14-34 in league play in the last three seasons. They haven’t made it past the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals since the mid-90s.
Adding to the hoos misery in hoops, they lost their star from the past two years, Sylven Landesberg. His 17 ppg, best I can tell, is playing for the Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club in the Israeli Super League.
The good news for the hoos is they did return their Jeff Allen, Mike Scott. Much like Jeff, Mike Scott is very unpredictable. He’ll look like a monster for a half, dominating inside, then disappear the next half or for an entire game. But he’s been pretty consistent this year, and in a good way for the hoos. He’s reached double digits in all but one game (and he had eight in that game), and has four double-doubles. And unlike Jeff Allen, Scott doesn’t get in foul trouble much. He’s the key for VT to stop. Davila isn’t physical enough to stop him, in my opinion, and if you put Jeff on him, you risk Allen getting in foul trouble. But I also think the match-up will bring the best out of Mr. Allen. The two have been locking horns for four years now and often have good games against each other (when Jeff is able to play the whole game). Scott averaged 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in the two games against the Hokies last year.
Beyond Scott, virginia is either very young or very old. They only have one sophomore and one junior that’s stuck around and still plays. They do have three seniors that play a lot (Scott plus Farrakhan and Sherrill), but those latter two have been scrubs for three years. Farrakhan has been muched improved this year, though, and has given them a three-point threat at times. Mustapha has reached double digits off the bench in five of their seven games. Still, I’ll take the chance that he can’t beat us. He hit four of five threes against minnesota in their upset win Monday… yeah… I don’t expect to see that again but VT will need to get a hand in his face. If he misses his first couple shots, he’ll fade.
virginia did bring in a decent, and big, recruiting class for this season. K.T. Harrell was the headliner. He’s a 6’4″ shooting guard and some thought he’d fill the void of Landesberg’s departure. Rivals.com had him as the #30 recruit in the nation for 2010. But K.T. has just averaged 7.4 ppg and shoots under 40% from the field. He doesn’t shoot a lot of threes, but does hit about one per game. Harrell also doesn’t get to the line much, which was Landesberg’s trademark, so he has not been aggressive to date. And he’s not even that good of a foul shooter (60%).
virginia’s best freshman to date has been 6’6″ guard, Joe Harris. Harris has shot lights out so far. He’s shooting 55% from the field and 50% from behind the arc, hitting 14/28 attempts. Tech must respect him from deep, but he’s also deadly inside the arc, hitting 17 of 28 two point shots. But he only has six free throw attempts on the season, which tells you he also isn’t banging inside or attacking the tin. Just stay with him and don’t give him open looks.
FYI: Sammy Zeglinski is still around but is out with a knee injury. He should be back in a few weeks, but don’t expect him for this game.
Blacksburg, VA – The Virginia Tech Hokies made it a clean sweep of ACC and in-state rival virginia with a 61-55 win over the hoos before a capacity crowd in Blacksburg. Junior guard Dorenzo Hudson led the Hokies with 15 points while Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney added 13 apiece.
The Hokies remain unbeaten at the Cassell this season – a perfect 13-0. More importantly, they are now 7-3 in ACC play and in third place behind duke (9-2) and wake forest (8-3). Additionally, Niemo’s beloved maroon “dress jeans” are a perfect 6-0 (possibly 7-0), including 3-0 against the boohoos.
This game was ugly. Actually, ugly is putting it nicely. Fugly is more like it. If you don’t know what “fugly” means, look it up at urbandictionary.com, then come back here for a recap of the carnage that set the game of basketball back about 100 years. Like, back when they actually used peach baskets as the hoops.
Why so fugly, you ask? Probably because the Hokies and hoos are the two best defensive teams (statistically speaking) in the ACC. The hoos gave up their average exactly – 61 points. The Hokies, meanwhile, held the hoos well below VT’s usual 61.4 ppg, allowing only 55 points.
Delaney got no love from the refs in this game. He was fouled repeatedly, but never got the call. He didn’t shoot his first free throw until late in the game. He also struggled from the field, but Hudson stepped up, as did Allen, Terrell Bell and JT Thompson.
Trailing 51-48 late in the second half, Allen got a layup in the paint and drew the foul. He completed the old-fashioned three-point play to tie the game at 51. After a missed shot by uva at the other end, Bell grabbed one of his nine rebounds and Allen hit the big three pointer that put the Hokies ahead for good, 54-51, with 1:14 to play.
Allen scored six points during an 8-0 run that resembled the late-game rally that gave the Hokies a key ACC road win on Jan. 28, in Charlottesville.
Tech led for much of the first half, but both teams were terrible from the field. The hoos used a 7-2 run to close out the half and take a 25-21 lead into the break. The 21 points are the second fewest in the first half this season – they managed an anemic 17 in an early season loss to temple.
Interesting to note… The Hokies used essentially seven players in the game. Delaney, Hudson, Allen, Bell and Davila started. JT and Erick Green also saw quite a bit of action. Cadarian Raines played only three minutes. JT and Raines filled in for Allen who picked up two quick fouls in the first three minutes and had to sit the rest of the half.
This is Greenberg’s third 20-win season since taking over the program in 2003. Tech has six games remaining in the regular season. Their next game is Tuesday, Feb. 16, at home vs. wake forest, which “upset” georgia tech tonight to improve to 8-3 in ACC play.
I just checked into the Inn and Conference Center and the hoo players are everywhere, including arm-curl rejecter Tristan Spurlock. I must admit, it has me frazzled. It is like having the Red Army in the room next to you. I just want to mess with them so much.
Three years ago our good buddy DuffHokie and friends really got the hoos good in a similar situation. Deciding they needed to smoke at 3 AM and not having time to find a legitimate exit, they went out a fire door, setting off the fire alarms. at 3 AM and 30 degrees, the hoos had to trek outside in their nighties. And yes, the taunts rained down on them. Just 9 hours later they tool the floor against the Hokies and got absolutely waxed in a noon game, thanks to a big assist to DuffHokie and crew.
While I don’t think I’ll pull a similar stunt, I won’t hold it against anyone that comes over to the Inn and forces us out (FYI: all away teams stay here at the Inn). Just don’t tell them Niemo sent you.
While most of Virginia has been strangled with a whiteout from all the snow in the last week, on Saturday it’s a blackout, people! Ugh, don’t get me started… well, I guess I just did. Why do we have a blackout? Last I checked, our school colors are Chicago maroon and burnt orange. We have a ‘Maroon Monsoon’, we have a ‘White Out’ which I can kind of understand because we wear white at home, but no orange out or anything. Instead, we have a blackout that has nothing to do with our colors. Are we going to wear black jerseys? We didn’t last year for that blackout when Tech blew a double-digit second half lead and lost to clemson. Are we going to turn the lights out for introductions, a pseudo blackout? We’ll see. I’m just trying to understand. But enough of the fashion police.
The Hokies come into this game on a Kaiser roll, having won six of their last seven games. Tech also sports an undefeated home record at 12-0. But VT will be tested in the next two games, playing the ACC’s #5 (uva) and #3 (wake) teams at home. Two wins would really vault the Hokies into a firm grip on a first round bye for the ACC Tourney, a split keeps them on the brink, and two losses will knock them out of the top four in all likelihood. So it is high drama in the Cassell!
And you want a good luck charm? Niemo’s beloved maroon “dress jeans” will be in the building Saturday. These Wrangler skin-tight beauties have a perfect 5-0 (might be 6-0, can’t remember if I wore them for the georgia game) record, including 2-0 against the hoos. So watch out! And tell your old lady not to give you any crap about wanting to watch/go to this game Saturday night – Valentine’s Day isn’t until Sunday.
Included in Tech’s recent hot streak was a 76-71 win over the hoos in ch’ville (Recap) just over two weeks ago, completing the football/basketball sweep in hooville. In that game Tech seemingly didn’t show up until the clock hit five minutes. The Hokies used an 18-5 run to close the first half and go into the break up 28-27.
The Hokies then fell behind by double-digits in the second half thanks in part to the ejection of Jeff Allen for throwing an elbow (a BS call). But once again the cardiac kids answered. Trailing 62-52 with under three minutes to play. VT went on a 13-0 run to lead 65-62 with under 10 seconds to play. Seemingly with the game in hand, uva’s auto parts wiz Sammy Zeglinski drained a fadeaway three from NBA range with 1.3 seconds left to send the game to OT.
But as you regular readers know, you just don’t go to an extra session with the Hokies and win. Tech dominated the bonus period, jumping to a quick five point lead in OT and outscoring uva 10-3 in the first 4:40. A late three by uva made the final 76-71. But the Hokies had their ninth straight overtime win in ACC play.
One of the reasons Tech was so close to losing was the play of uva’s stars, Sylven Landesberg and Mike Scott. Those two guys had big games, especially in the first half, tallying 18 and 21 points respectively. They both shot 8/16 from the floor. Tech must force other people to beat them. Jeff Jones double his average with 12 and Jerome Meyinsse had a surprising 9, but the Hokies held the rest of the hoos in check. Zeglinski had just 3 points until his game-tying shot and another three in OT.
The Hokies also didn’t get to the foul line until less that 10 minutes remained in regulation. The way VT has been getting to the line lately, with very aggressive play from guys like Hudson and JT Thompson, I don’t think that will be an issue on the Hokies’ home floor.
Another surprise in the first game is the hoos had more points off turnovers then the Hokies with a slight 18-16 lead. But since that is such a key to the Hokies’ game, it is amazing VT still won.
All-Time: uva 79-51
In ACC Play: 6-6
At the Cassell: VT 26-16 and 4-1 since joining the ACC
Streak: VT has won 4 of 5 with 3 of those wins going to OT
Basically, it comes down to this. You could call Delaney and Landesberg a wash (20 ppg to 18 ppg) – Delaney (usually) is a better outside shooter while Sylven is a better finisher around the room and both are great from the line. You could call Jeff Allen and Mike Scott a wash, and both have similar numbers – 11.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg for Allen to 13.1 and 7.4 rpg, though Allen has a huge edge in steals/blocks at 47/24 to 12/6. So you might give the edge to Allen based on his defense. But the rest of the Hokie cast is superior to uva’s in my opinion. Hudson versus Zeglinski? No contest – all Zo (13.7 ppg to 10.0). Bell against Evans (uva’s defensive specialist)? No contest, the bell tolls for Bell – 5.9 ppg and 41 combined steals/blocks to 2.7 ppg and 41 steals/blocks. Davila against Meyinsse? Well, alright, I’ll call that a wash, too – 6 ppg to 5 ppg and Meyinsse has better defensive stats and they average the same number of rebounds per minutes played.
Off the bench, I’ll take JT Thompson (8.4 ppg in ACC play) over anyone uva has. Erick Green (3.5 ppg) probably isn’t as good yet as Mustapha Farrakhan (6.9 ppg) or Jeff Jones (6.5 ppg) from a scoring perspective, but those guys aren’t consistent and could be invisible. Jones has only played 11 minutes total since the VT game as senior Calvin Baker (3.6 ppg – I’d take Green over him in a heartbeat) has regained playing time.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:
Pressure: uva had fits getting past the VT press at the end of the first meeting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in bursts on Saturday, but since Delaney and Hudson play most of the game, don’t expect much of it. Would be a good change of pace at times. Tech barely won the turnover battle the first time and lost in points off turnovers, so anything VT can do to flip that in this game would help.
Bottle the first 10 minutes of the state game: VT hit their first 10 shots of the nc state game, after shooting just 15% in the first half against clemson and just 30% for the game. Let’s hope the Hokies find ways to get easy buckets like they did against the pack (they had six layups out of those 10 shots and hit both threes). That won’t be easy against the hoos, who are far superior on defense. But Tech was good at the end of the halves in ch’ville when they were aggressive, especially JT Thompson. Plus, that will lead to free throws which VT was not getting in the first meeting. Tech also was smarter on the break on Wednesday, not settling for pull up jumpers when they had numbers in transition. The Hokies went hard at the glass and either got layups, and-1’s, or foul shots most of the time. That’s how breaks are supposed to look, not 18-foot jumpers.
Limit the production of Landesberg and Scott – double Scott down low unless you are on Sylven (never leave him)… force Landesberg to beat you from the outside – he hit 2/5 threes in ch’ville but has made just 13 on the year. If he beats you from behind the arc, then just tip your cap.
Rebound: Tech was great on the defensive boards in the first meeting against the hoos, grabbing 75% of their misses. But they have struggled in this area in their last three games, including grabbing just 60% of the pack misses, and they are small like uva. Tech is -24 in rebounding margin in the last three games. The Hokies have to win 50/50 ball battles like they were early in the season and really squeeze the leather.
Keep doing what your doing: The Hokies are playing great defense lately. clemson and nc state have shot under 31% in the last two games. uva shot just 44% in the first meeting.
I wear my undefeated maroon pants and I have some Wild Turkey before the game (also usually means a win).
I’d also expect a huge game from Jeff Allen. As the Roanoke Times’ Mark Berman pointed out, he hasn’t gotten to play much against the hoos lately. He missed the game at uva last year because of him flipping off the maryland fans the game before, and missed the final 12 minutes of the game last month for his alleged flying elbow. Jeff had just four points in that game. If you go back further, Allen had just three points on 0/7 shooting in the game in Blacksburg last January. So the hoos have had his number. Jeff did go for double-digits in both games against the hoos his freshman year, and he has scored 10+ in all four games since the uva ejection. Like I said, expect him to step up Saturday.
Greenberg said it best after the game, “We own overtime.”
The Hokies won for the second time in their last three visits to the port-a-john (both went an extra session) with an amazing 5 point victory in overtime over uva, 76-71. The Hokies trailed 62-52 with less than 3 minutes to play and then went on a 13-0 run to take the lead with 30 seconds to go. Tech played great defense in the final possession, but sammy zeslenski hit a desperation 3 with 1.3 seconds to send the game into overtime.
But the Hokies are money in OT. Led by some clutch free throw shooting by J.T. Thompson, the Hokies won their 6th straight overtime game (according to Niemo – see more below for notes on VT’s OT dominance).
I’m not sure how we won this game thanks to some questionable calls by the refs (I’m being nice here). Jeff Allen was ejected for throwing an elbow in the second half, which for a while seemed like the turning point for the hoos. The ejection seemed ridonkulous from the stands. I could understand a T, but an ejection? But, in both halves, we went on spurts in the final minutes to turn a double digit deficit into leads. The Hokies trailed 22-10 in the first half, but outscored uva 18-5 to lead by one at the intermission.
Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 27 points. Dorenzo Hudson scored 18 and J.T. Thompson had 17.
On a personal note, this victory is especially sweet as a resident of Ch-ville. It was great to see so many Hokies at the game tonight, including the entire TechHoops.com team. More analysis later. I am writing this in BW3s and need to finish my beer.
Niemo’s Notes are below…
First thing I did when I got home from ch-ville is re-watch the ejection on Jeff Allen. Just like I thought, it was complete BS. Some people have reputations, and in this case, I think Allen’s reputation cost him (he’s been suspended each of his first two years, once by the ACC for bumping a ref, once by VT for flicking off maryland which cost him the uva game last year). He swung his elbow, yes, but he wasn’t even looking at the guy he hit. Flagrant foul? Maybe. Ejection? No way. If he is suspended for the miami game, I’m pooping in an envelope and mailing it to Commish Swafford.
Let me second Wick’s thoughts that I have no idea how we won this game. We owned the last 5 minutes of all three periods, while uva dominated the other 30 minutes.
Chew on this… uva outscored VT in the first 15 minutes of both halves (more or less) by a margin of 55-32. The Hokies outscored the hoos in the final 5 minutes (more or less) of both halves by a 33-10 margin.
Chew on this Part II: Tech hit 8 of their final 10 (80%) shots in the first half after making just 5 of their first 19 (26%). VT hit 4 of their last 5 in the 2nd half (80% again) after hitting just 8 of 22 (36%) to start the half. And then they hit 3 of 6 in OT. The Hokies got it done when they had to.
IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW, THE HOKIES OWN OVERTIME!!! BELIEVE THAT! Tech has won six straight overtime games and this current junior class has won 9 of their last 10 OT games since losing to butler in 2007, their first ever OT game. And even that one, xavier, was on a half court shot at the buzzer.
IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW, THE HOKIES OWN OVERTIME!!! BELIEVE THAT! Part II: The Hokies have won 9 straight ACC games that went to OVERTIME. The current junior class is 6-0 in ACC OT games, and half of those were against uva. IF THE GAME GOES TO OVERTIME, BOOK IT AS A HOKIE WIN!
I really really really love the Hokie half court trap. Like, but don’t love, the full court trap-press. Tech got two turnovers out of the full court trap but both were off the inbound pass. One thing VT could do is setup the press try to steal the inbounds pass (which worked twice tonight), or trap the first pass. If the opponent gets out of it, fall back. As for the half court trap, I haven’t seen Tech burned more than once or twice out of it yet while it has caused a lot of issues for the opponent. Bell and Thompson with their length and long arms and athleticism really cause problems.
Didn’t see that coming: Zo Hudson hit all 3 of his 3s tonight, including a huge one to cut the uva lead to 1 late in regulation. Zo was just 17/65 (26%) on 3s coming into tonight. I’m not bad-mouthing any three he takes anymore… (promise is not a guarantee). Where would this team be without him right now? Especially with Allen’s struggles in ACC play and Delaney’s injury.
Didn’t see that coming Part II: JT Thompson hit 5/6 from the FT line tonight. He has hit 8 of his last 9 FTs after hitting a pathetic 9 of 23 (29%) to start the season. HE WAS SAVING IT UP FOR TONIGHT!!!
Tech did not shoot a FT until the 9:52 mark of the 2nd half. Yep, that’s over 30 minutes without a shooting foul/bonus. Terrible officiating in my opinion. Amazingly, the Hokies finished with 20 FTAs compared to 22 for uva. That stat tends to even out unless you are playing unc.
Wow – swept uva in ch-ville in football and basketball! That hasn’t happened since…………. the 2008-09 season – the last time we played there in football and basketball. Yep, we own ch-ville!
Hearts will be heavy as the Hokies and the hoos do battle on Thursday. Tomorrow will be tough to deal with for many people with the news that the body found on Tuesday near Charlottesville was that of 20-year-old Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student that went missing after attending a Metallica concert at John Paul Jones Arena, the place where Thursday’s game will be played. In many ways, it is too soon, but perhaps while the game is going on it can be a temporary distraction for the fans of both schools. For me, personally, the harsh reality of it all won’t be lost on me as I walk into JPJ to cheer on my Hokies.
That said, this is a big game for both teams, especially the Hokies. Tech is going to have to steal two road games in my estimation to get to 8-8 in conference and likely earn a NCAA Tournament bid. While uva is sitting at 3-1, they are one of the weaker teams in the league in my opinion. This is the first of four road games VT has against the teams picked 9-12 in the conference before the season (uva, miami, bc, and nc state). If they are going to win two road games, it likely has to come from those four as opposed to at duke or georgia tech, the other remaining road games.
For uva, a win would match their ACC win total from last year at four. It would also put them back in first place in the ACC, tied with maryland at 4-1.
All time: uva 79-50
At uva: uva 31-11
In ACC play: uva 6-5
Winning at uva has not been a common occurrence for the Hokies. Tech has won just once at uva since 1968. That stat is a tad misleading, though, since the teams played at neutral sites (mostly Roanoke and Richmond) from 1977-2000. But they are just 1-10 over that stretch, still pretty rough.
Tech did defeat the wahoos at uva two years ago, 70-69 in overtime on a Deron Washington acrobatic layup at the buzzer. Check it out!
The two teams split last year with Tech controlling the game in Blacksburg until the hoos made it close with a furious late rally and uva winning in Ch-ville (the Hokies didn’t have a suspended Jeff Allen for that game): at VT 78, uva 75 – Recap and at uva 75, VT 61
While the hoos certainly aren’t the most talented team in the league, they did return almost their entire squad from a year ago. And they got rid of Head Coach Dave Leitao in favor of defensive specialist Tony Bennett. Only Mamadi Diane, a mercurial role player who graduated, and Jamil Tucker, another role player who was dismissed from the team a month ago, are gone. Back are leading scorer and reigning ACC Rookie of the Year, Sylven Landesberg, and big man Mike Scott.
Landesberg still is not a three-point threat. He hit just 16 last year and has made 9 to date this season. Sylven earns his points off the dribble. He is tremendous at penetrating, drawing contact, and finishing (the Hokies could really use that latter). Landesberg hit close to 150 free throws last year and has hit 83 of his 100 FTs this year, so he is deadly from the line. Sylven is averaging 17.5 ppg, just up from last year. His scoring in ACC play has been much better than it was last year when teams really focused on shutting him down. Tech has to cut him off and not allow to get anywhere near the rim, especially in transition. Help defense will be key.
uva’s other main threat on offense is 6’8″ junior Mike Scott. Scott is a bit of an enigma – some nights he can dominate, others he is invisible. Heck, he can be that way in the same game. He’ll get two dunks and drain a fall-away, then not do a thing for 15 minutes. He has been on a tear though. Mike had reached double digits in eight straight games before wake held him to 6 points on Saturday. He was just 3/10 from the floor. He is averaging just under 13 ppg and 7.2 rebounds per game (the latter leads uva). Scott does not get to the line very much, he has just 31 attempts on the season. That tells you he isn’t going hard at the rack when covered. His game is open midrange jumpers or fall-aways, or wide open putbacks or dunks. Tech does have to respect his jumper from about 16-feet in and must get a body on him on the glass.
One of the big keys for the hoos has been the play of sophomore point guard Sammy Zeglinski. The Chicago auto part king has upped his average from 7.8 ppg to 10.1 ppg. Not a huge jump, but the key has been shot selection. Sammy shot just 31% on threes last year but is hitting 47% this season. He hit at least two 3s in 11 straight games before wake held him scoreless from the field, limiting him to 1 point. Sammy will not force threes, he looks for open looks. Play out on him and force him to pass or drive. If he drives, he is looking to dish to Landesberg or Scott so be ready to release and help rotate.
Jontel Evans, a freshman, also starts and is a defensive specialist. The hoos will play three guards most of the game.
Mustapha Farrakhan and Jeff Jones have both improved this year, too, averaging just over 7 ppg each. Both are shooting over 40% on threes to match Zeglinski.
The cavs will try and burn the Hokies with threes on offense. uva is 11th in the league in FG% (VT is last) at 45% but 1st in the league in 3-Point FG% at 40%. In other words, they shoot almost as well from behind the arc as inside. uva is third in the league in 3s made per game at 6.3. While Scott and Landesberg do their damage inside the arc, everyone else is almost exclusively looking to sit behind it. Tech will have to choose their poison – collapse inside and limit Landesberg and Scott, or assume they will get theirs, make their men play good one-on-one defense, and stay out on the perimeter players to defend the three. I’m betting it is the former of those two options. Focus on uva’s strength and just hope they aren’t hot from outside.
The hoos are also second in the league in FT%, mostly due to Landesberg.
Inside the hoos are weak except for Scott. Jerome Meyinsse has decent size at 6’9″ and Assane Sene is 7′, but neither is a scorer. They combine for 7 ppg and 8 rpg in about 30 minutes. Sene is a good shot blocker though.
SIX PACK OF KEYS TO WINNING:
Malcolm in the Middle: Delaney has to do a better job of scoring in ways other than on threes and free throws. He is missing that runner off penetration he’s shot at times in past years, and has had trouble finishing in the lane, too often worried about drawing contact. He’s also seemed hesitant to drive at times. Malcolm must be aggressive and try and force things at times, especially with how offensively challenged the team has been lately. Delaney had 24 in the home win last year but just 11 at uva.
Revenge of the Big Donut: Jeff Allen had a big donut last year against uva, going 0/7 from the field in the win in Blacksburg and sitting out the game after giving maryland fans the bird a few days before. I’d like to see him come out and really take it to the hoos in this one. They don’t have anyone that can really match up with his post skills. On defense, he will be key to limiting Mike Scott.
Make Landesberg a long distance call: Don’t let Sylven drive, pure and simple. When he does, he either finishes, gets fouled, or finishes and gets fouled. If he does drive, instantly double and either look to draw a charge or cut him off.
Help Noah: The arc will be key in this game. If uva’s supporting cast can hit their 6+ threes, VT is in trouble. You have to stop Sylven and Scott, but that will free up perimeter players. Everyone must slide and run out to help when uva does kick it out along the perimeter.
Finish strong: VT has been terrible in ACC play in second halves. They have scored 36 more points in the first half than the second half on the season (usually teams are the opposite due to late fouls). Tech must find a way to make adjustments at the half and be able to score for 40 minutes.
Do it for Morgan: Let’s win this game, and temporarily forget the sadness we feel for a life ended way too soon.
23 Delaney 6’3″
13 Zeglinski 6′
5 Hudson 6’5″
1 Evans 5’11”
1 Bell 6’6″
15 Landesberg 6’6″
0 Allen 6’7″
32 Scott 6’8″
14 Davila 6’8″
55 Meyinsse 6’9″
As you can see, Tech will have some height advantages at guard. The Hokie perimeter players should be able to shoot over uva with no issue. And on defense, Bell and Hudson have the size to match up with Landesberg, who usually has a mismatch with his height but won’t here.
The Hokies, sans leading rebounder Jeff Allen, fell on the road to in-state rival virginia, 61-75. Allen was suspended from the game after flipping his own version of the (Hokie) bird to Maryland fans last Saturday. As a result, the Hokies gave up some serious height in the middle and were subsequently outrebounded by the cavs, 37-38.
Although the absence of Allen handicapped the Hokies, it was their poor shooting that ultimately led to their demise. Tech shot just 36 percent from the field (22/60) and a paltry 4/19 from behind the arc (21 percent). A.D. Vassallo led the Hokies with 21 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks (tied a career high). Malcolm Delaney added 11 points, 10 from J.T. Thompson and 9 from Cheick Diakite, who had another solid performance including a team-high 9 rebounds. Thompson played 33 minutes and Diakite 28 minutes in Allen’s absence, but it wasn’t enough to fill his shoes.
The cavs were led by Sylven Landesberg with 19 points, but the Hokies managed to contain uva’s 7-foot freshman Assane Sene holding him to just 4 points and 4 rebounds, though he did have two blocks. Landesberg also led the hoos with 20 points in their Jan. 10, 78-75 loss to the Hokies in Blacksburg.
Tech hung tough early on, even without Allen and led 16-10 with 13:44 to play in the first half, but the wahoos came back to retake the lead. The Hokies kept it close and tied the game at 29 on a pair of Vassallo free throws with 3:45 to play. Then Tech went ice cold from the field and the hoos reeled off a 10-0 run to take a 29-39 halftime lead, which they would never give up. At one point in the second half, the cavs led by 19 points when they surged ahead 60-41.
The Hokies managed to whittle the lead down to eight with 2:33 to play in the game when Terrell Bell drained his only bucket, a trey, to cut the lead to 67-59. But that’s as close as Tech would get as the hoos snapped their three-game losing streak to the Hokies. Last weekend, the terps snapped their three-game losing streak to Tech as well.
Next up for the Hokies is a home game against fsu (20-6, 7-4), which spanked miami tonight, 80-67. The last time the Hokies and noles faced off, the Hokies won 89-80 in Blacksburg on Jan. 29, 2008.
The Hokies had an opportunity to put themselves in a good position for an NCAA Tournament bid, but with back-to-back losses to two of the worst teams in the ACC and playing their last five games against the top half of the conference, it will be an uphill battle for Seth Greenberg and company.
Tech stands at 6-5 in conference play. They need at least a 9-7 conference record to get even a sniff at a tourney bid. That means they need to win three of their final five games, beginning with fsu this weekend. Tech has Clemson on the road, which will be an extremely tough game to pull out, but not impossible. The Hokies return to the Cassell to host unc and then duke. The tar heels are virtually a lock for a No. 1 seed in the tournament and there’s a good chance that they might look past the Hokies, who have shown they are more than capable of knocking off the heels.
And of course Tech will have the revenge factor against dook which laid a serious beat down on the Hokies earlier this season. Tech closes the season with a road trip to fsu where the Hokies haven’t won since 1990 (five straight losses).
The way Tech has played the last two games doesn’t really provide Hokie fans with a great deal of enthusiasm heading down the stretch, but if they can pull it together, they have a shot to finish 9-7 and make a run in the ACC tournament.
There was a wahoo fan holding up a sign that read, “Hey A.D.! Can you spell unrated?” First, I believe the word for which he was looking is “overrated.” Second, A.D. dropped 21 points on virginia and led all scorers, so perhaps targeting A.D. wasn’t the wisest decision. Just sayin.