Instead of focusing on what went wrong in the first half, the focus instead should be put on how the Hokies responded offensively in the second half. The team scored a mere 19 points after the first twenty minutes of the game, and opened the second half with a crisp, new offensive look. Marquis Rankin played point for a large portion of the second half, which let Erick Green shift over to the off-guard slot.
The first ten minutes of the game involved some of the worst offensive basketball played by the Hokies in recent memory. Reffing notwithstanding, the Hokies missed many opportunities to score and only managed one point through the first 8 minutes of the game, virtue of starting the game 0-16 on field goals. But the Hokies battled back to get the deficit down to 2 before getting down by 4 at the break.
The Hokies finally did it, on their fifth try they won an ACC game. To top it off, they beat a ranked Virginia. In a game where scoring was at a premium and defense was abundant, the Hokies did what it took to win, and fixed some of the mistakes that had been plaguing the team to start conference play. Even though the Hokies did get outrebounded 25-29, there was a tenacity on the boards that had not been present to this point in the season. If the team can keep that kind of intensity, then the Hokies will be okay going forward. The same goes for boxing out, as the players were actually clearing space out under the basket, and what a joy it was to watch.
Going into the game as big underdogs, Virginia Tech looked to get its first win in the ACC this season (0-3 going into the game). UNC started off the game well, with a 15-9 lead after the first few minutes of the game. Then the Hokies turned it on from 3-point range, hitting eight 3’s in the first half. Dorenzo Hudson was 4-4 from 3-point range in the first half as the Hokies had a five-point lead at the half, 39-34. The lead was a bit misleading, as the Hokies were shooting well from beyond the arc and UNC was not playing up to par. Even when the shots were falling in the first twenty minutes, the Virginia Tech offense is stagnant.
Florida State's defense is pretty good. Against our less than average offense, that defense stifled us all night. We were are to come back and almost tie the game at the end. Every time we threatened, Florida State had an answer. Our inability to box out and rebound definitely hurt us in this game. We need to put ourselves in a better position to win these games; in short, we are not helping ourselves.
The Virginia Tech Hokies took on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on January 7th after almost a week off, last playing December 31st against Oklahoma State. Wake Forest's previous game was a loss to Wofford the previous Monday. Virginia Tech showed an incredible amount of rust from the tip off, which resulted in a quick 20-8 lead for the Deacons. One of the most surprising factors of this quick lead was how Wake out-rebounded the Hokies. Virginia Tech must not have looked at the scouting report, as they let themselves get embarrassed on the boards all night. In the early going, Wake Forest could do no wrong, and built a large lead from the get go.
After a slow, slow start, the Hokies ended the first half with some stellar defense and some good shots. Freshman Robert Brown hit a very contested three point shot to give the Hokies a strong 16-0 spurt to end the half. The defense was the most spectacular portion of the half, holding the Eagles to a mere NINE points at halftime, which saw the Hokies possess a 27-9 advantage.
Semi-final vs. #5 Syracuse
Defensively, for the first 28 minutes of the game, the Hokies looked very stout. Syracuse could not hit a shot. Virginia Tech turned the ball over too many times and could not take advantage of their hot shooting and their tough defense. Despite this, the Hokies led 29-27 at the half.
The second half started off similar to the first, with teams trading baskets and Virginia Tech building a 7-point lead. However, at the 12-minute mark, Syracuse could not miss. They went on a run that crippled the Hokies chances, and took an 11-point lead after a big run. The Hokies cut it down to 5, but fell short and lost 69-58.
The team played extremely well and as a whole on Monday, and Erick Green’s presence made a world of a difference in ball control, tempo, and movement. This team is starting to play better, as the rust seems to have worn off a bit since the opener against ETSU. During the second NIT game, point guard Erick Green reinjured his strained Achilles tendon and did not play most of the second half. Hopefully this goes away, because this team needs him; his presence changes the way the Hokies play.
NIT Game One vs. Monmouth (W 91-46)
MVP – Erick Green
Well, we won. Have to get that out of the way. In this review, it is important to note that starting PG Erick Green did not play, which had a significant outcome on the game, as we did not play any true point guards besides him. On that note, we are thin at that position, which could be a problem if we were to lose Green for the season. Now that that is out of the way, here is the review: