We can't say the Hokies looked good, but they definitely sounded good in an 88-57 domination of a fatigued Mississippi State club in the Bahamas. Some people say that this one should be taken with a grain of salt due to the Bulldogs being tired from playing six games since last Saturday, but a 31-point win is a 31-point win, especially over an SEC team.
The Hokies were hot from the field, shooting an eye-popping 59% (17-29) in the first half. After missing their first three attempts, Tech made six straight and nine out of their next 10 shots to open up a 10-point advantage just nine minutes into the game. The Hokies also made 6-of-13 three-pointers in the first half, jumping out to a 44-27 halftime advantage.
Tech cooled off a tad in the second half, but still managed to shoot 50% for the game (30-60) and ended up making 9-of-25 from beyond the arc. According to Bill Roth and Mike Burnop, Mississippi State was one of the more tired basketball teams they've witnessed in awhile, and it showed on the boards, as Tech dominated the bigger Bulldogs 39-24, including 13 offensive rebounds to MSU's five.
All 11 players that made the trip got in the game for Tech, including Paul Debnam, who came in with more than 2 minutes to go. Debnam and Cadarian Raines were the only Hokies that didn't score in the contest, as the Hokies got production from everyone that saw significant playing time.
The biggest positive out of the game had to be Dorenzo Hudson's play. Returning from a leg injury that caused him to miss the Penn State game, the senior guard played his best game of the year, scoring 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. His "replacement," Erick Green, sparked the offense for a second straight game with 11 points and six assists in 38 minutes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward. Green has been a spark plug in the two games he's started and Hudson played well in the sixth man role.
Malcolm Delaney did his thing with 19 points to lead Tech, while Jeff Allen managed a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards despite only playing 16 minutes due to foul trouble. Even reserve forward Manny Atkins notched 10 points in 13 minutes.
Also, the Hokies did a fantastic job on the defensive side of things, holding the Bulldogs leading scorer, Ravern Johnson, to a season-low 12 points. Tech also held fab freshman Renardo Sidney to 12 points and 3 boards in his collegiate debut. According to Bill and Mike, Sidney was extremely out of shape and had no idea what was going on at times, causing him to foul out in 25 minutes of action.
Overall, this will be an impressive win come March for the Hokies. Mississippi State is not a bad team and they'll do fine in the SEC, especially when point guard Dee Bost returns after January 1. Seth Greenberg has to be happy for his club to pull off their best game of the year against an SEC team in Paradise. Now only if we had a chance to see it.
Tech now travels to Rochester, New York on Thursday for a 7pm neutral-site contest against St. Bonaventure of the Atlantic 10. The Bonnies (6-3) are coming off a 4 OT, 112-107 victory against Ohio on Saturday.