VT-Oklahoma State Recap

image via HokieSports.com

After today's game, I can officially say that James Johnson is the right man for this job. The Hokies upset #15 Oklahoma State 81-71 this afternoon in a crazy environment at Cassell Coliseum.

Summary:

Ten seconds into the game, Erick Green picked up his first foul. Physical play and missed shots by Oklahoma State helped the Hokies to an early 7-4 lead. A little more than 2 minutes into the game, Erick picked up his second foul. He was immediately subbed out. This got me worried. How would we play without Erick for the majority of the first half?

Well, we didn't do too well. We failed to score for the next five minutes with Erick on the bench. It was clear this team needs him on the court. Coach Johnson showed trust in his player to not foul, and put him back in with 12 minutes left in the half. How'd he do?

He scored our next 10 points and gave us the lead with 8 minutes left in the half. He was taken out, and Oklahoma State began to dominate. They looked more talented and stronger than the Hokies, and slowly built an eight point lead. The entire first half was played at Oklahoma State's pace, and the Hokies looked awful in their half-court offense. Give credit to the Cowboys, they are very solid on defense. With a minute left in the half, Robert Brown scored back-to-back times off a steal, then a long rebound, setting up two transition shots to get the game within four. I considered the Hokies very lucky to be in that position.

It was clear we were going to need to get in transition and speed up the pace if we we're going to have any chance in the game. The defensive intensity would need to increase to force either turnovers or missed shots, leading to transition opportunities.

Erick Green took over the game at the start the second half. He scored the Hokies first 10 points and pushed the pace of play. No one could stop him. I couldn't believe some of the shots he made on that run. He was the best player on the court and Oklahoma State had no answer. Cassell erupted after every shot, and every player showed and incredible amounts of emotion. The Hokies defensive intensity increased tremendously and they forced turnovers and scored points in transition. They were doing exactly what they needed to win the game. With five minutes left, the Hokies lead 60-59, and this was where is said to myself, "Let's see what we're made of."

With the crowd behind them, the Tech players showed incredible confidence and no fear as they made shot, after shot, after shot to take a six point lead. Now was the tough part, would we make the free throws? Yes. We made our final 10 free throws to seal the game and win by ten.

Quick thoughts: Before the game even started, I could see confidence oozing out of our players. The team looked like they knew they were going to win. Oklahoma State had the better players, but we had a better TEAM. That's the biggest thing I can stress for this year: We are a team. After today, I know we are legitimate threat and I believe we are going to surprise the ACC. I was beyond impressed today. Four different players scored in double digits, and we scored 49 points in the second half. We out rebounded Oklahoma State 41-31, and played physical the entire game. Tech allowed too many easy dunks inside during the first half, but really improved in the second. The crowd was the loudest I can remember it being since Duke in 2011. I want to say thank you to everyone that came out today, and hope that people continue to come and support this team no matter who the opponent is.

Point Guards:

ERICK GREEN, YA'LL. He scored a career high 28 points and 7 rebounds in only 26 minutes of action. He picked up two quick fouls and then stayed clean for the rest of the game. I truly believe he is the best point guard in the ACC and want people to prove me otherwise. He scored 10 points in a row TWICE in the game. He shot lights out today and Oklahoma State couldn't figure out how to stop him.

With Erick being in foul trouble the entire first half, Marquis Rankin had a larger role today than normal. He didn't do too much, but didn't make too many mistakes, not too much to say here.

Shooting Guards:

Robert Brown was a game changer with 6 rebounds and 18 points, many of which came off the fast break. When the team didn't have Erick on the court, the offense went through Brown. No matter the defense, he finds a way to get an open look at the basket. He's incredible in isolation scenarios and no longer relies on just his jump shot; he's a great driver of the basketball and always finds a way to get quick scores. He shot a single three today, and still finished with 18.

The Cowboys denied Will Johnston, and even made him fire a questionable three from behind the arc.

Forwards:

Jarell had his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. He's been able to maintain his aggressiveness rebounding after moving from the 4 spot to the 3 this season. He scored every way today. He took it strong to the hoop, and found ways to make shots with his back to the basket. He was extremely physical and shows a lot of emotion throughout the game.

Marshall Wood played his smartest game of the year, and really surprised me with his composure. He took high percentage shots, and sank free throws under pressure at the end of the game. This is the first game he didn't just jack up threes. He would catch the ball and even though he was open, he would drive to the basket and either make the shot or get fouled. He's getting smarter every game, and should be a key part of the team come ACC play.

C.J. played very sparingly today but still had two assists. He does a great job of finding the open man when he has the ball in the post. (Something Cadarian is not so good at...)

Centers:

Cadarian scored the first four points of the game and played physical throughout. Even with the good start, he struggled with his shot, but was solid from the free throw line. Every time he got the ball in the post, he was determined to get a shot up, even if there were open players around them. When Erick was on his hot streak in the first half, Dot was passed the ball down low, and failed to find a wide open Green right in front of him. He ended up taking a poor shot and missing it. Hopefully he'll improve on this.

JVZ played very few minutes today but had a crazy block in the second half to deny Marcus Smart an easy layup.

Stat of the Game:

The Hokies shot 27-33 from the free throw line and made their final 10 free throws of the game. We didn't see this last year under Seth. It turns the close games we had last year into 10 point victories this year.

Mike's Player of the Game:

Erick Green was by far the best player on the court today, and this team absolutely needs him to succeed.

We beat a team that has two first round draft picks. Marcus Smart is an incredible player, but needs to control his emotions better. The players seemed to really dislike Oklahoma State, and I bet they were happy to get the win. I want to again thank everyone for going to the game today. The fans were one of the main reasons we won; Cassell was loud, and intimidating.

I was waiting to see how we performed in these difficult non-conference games before I made my conclusions about Coach Johnson and this team. I'm officially on board and believe we can do something special this year. Coach Johnson shows great emotion and gets the crowd involved. He's an extremely classy guy and has made this team a family.

The players get a week off before the next game against bitter rival West Virginia. This will be the Hokies first big road game, and I want to see how the players respond. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. next Saturday.

Let's get to 8-0! Go Hokies!

Comments

Erick Green for Heisman

Erick Green was absolutely ridiculous. I don't think I've ever seen a player take over a game like he did at the beginning of the second half today.

The crowd was incredibly loud the entire game and they seemed ready to go crazy every time Green shot the ball. With all of that said though there is one thing I was disappointed with and that was the "You're a Pussy" chants at Marcus Smart. I know, the guy was flopping like LeBron James out there, but that's classless guys. I love rattling a Freshman and making him angry, but there are better ways to do that. There are little kids at that game. But other than that, great game and Go Hokies!

Rip his freaking head off!

I Still Don't Have A Voice

What a game. To say I came into Cassell today expecting a win would be a lie. I knew we could pull out a W but I would have been very happy to play a competitive game with OSU.

First off, OSU is a great team. That is by no means a cheap win for us. Smart and Nash are both very quality players and Smart could be a Freshman of the year candidate. They will make plenty of noise in the Big XII this year. With that said, Smart flopped like he played for Duke and while the treatment he got from the student section (specifically on one free-throw attempt) may have been questionable, I loved it. But regardless, he is a great players and for a Freshman kept his cool in what was a very hostile environment.

But what can you say about these Hokies? Just WOW!

Four guys in double figures.

We won the rebound battle by 10!!!

And our free-throw shooting at the end of the game was great.

And we have Erick Green....
Is he ever going to come back to earth? I certainly hope not.

I will leave this post like I have earlier ones, while my excitement for this team grows with each game, we still need to keep level heads. Keep in mind this team is relatively young. Green will not drop 25+ each game and other things won't click as well as they have in the first few games.

I am still just hoping for this team to keep improving and to keep playing the way we have. Look, an NCAA tourney bid is possible but that is still a long way off.

For now, I'm just enjoying this team, and this coach. JJ has this school, town, and fan base wrapped around his finger and he deserves it. Please keep supporting this team. Even if they're playing Mississippi Valley State Cassell should still be full. Get out there and support this team and this coach!!

Marcus Smart was completely rattled by the crowd. Not only was the student section after him, but the entire arena was. It was incredible.

I love Virginia Tech, regardless of the outcome of every game.

Actually I was impressed with how well he hung in the game. As much as I hated him for his flops throughout the game, he continued to split double teams and make free throws with consistency. He still tied for the lead in points for Ok St. For a freshman, I thought he played very well in his first true collegiate away game.

RealDiehl

Very Impressed

I think this team has a lot of heart and chemistry that could take us a long way if we stay healthy. Also the fan support was outstanding. This team is definitely one that feeds off of crowd energy so I wanna see Cassell filled like that every home game. Erick Green was on fire once again and I don't think he is gonna be flamed out any time soon. Even when teams key on him he finds ways to get open and drain shots.

Beat WV-Fucking-U
AND
Let's go Hokies!

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

Meanwhile Rankin's face is like, "SAY WHAT AGAIN!"

Two epic goatees. Two epic coaches. Tip of the Spear and The Lunchpail. GRIMES&FOSTER.

Nice write-up, Mikey.

I fully agree that this team, if it stays healthy, is going to surprise a lot of people.

We definitely have some things that we need to work on, most obviously our man-to-man help defense down in the low post. (I'll bet OSU had at least 10 wide-open dunks yesterday.) Also, as you pointed out, Cadarian Raines needs to learn that just because he gets the ball down in the low post doesn't mean that he has to shoot it. If a good shot's not there, then kick it back out to the perimeter people.

I would respectfully disagree that Will Johnston's shot was a "questionable three". On TV it looked like he had a good look at the basket and squared up nicely for his shot. It just didn't go in this time. But that's a shot I want him taking every time he gets the chance, because most of them will go in. The kid's a very good spot-up shooter.

Thank you

The way we've been doubling in the post is an aggressive move that I predict we'll be seeing under Coach Johnson. He said he was very aggressive on defense and liked to trap a lot. He hasn't been able to implement his entire defensive strategy due to the lack of players, but I expect to see a lot of changes defensively in year two. He also said that the players picked up the offense a lot quicker than the defense, so I think that's why we're seeing a little struggle. However, the defensive intensity increased tremendously in the second half, and our rotations were a lot better. I can't remember any wide open dunks in the second half, and I expect we will get better in regards to that every game.

I was in the corner of Cassell, so I got a view at how much room he had to shoot. With the athletes the cowboys had, they can contest the shot more than in previous games. He had little room to shoot and I think that had an effect on his shot. Maybe he feels comfortable taking the shot, I don't know him, but I think we could have gotten a better look. He's a great shooter (as he's proven this year), but I will still stress shot selection.

Team

Having that word associated with any team a part of Hokie athletics makes me damn proud. Again, guys with flickers of incredible talent some schools may not see or simply fit with their ideologies. Yet we take them and put them into his shooting from the hip, if you have the shot, take it. If not, see if someone else can style of play is astounding to watch.

If Erick Green is not a leader, I do not know how you explain how everything flows through him. Like appendages that can first offer the ball back to the mothership or take one if open they are all mindfully working together.

We reach only the NIT i'm ok with that. As long as every game they play with these flashes of brilliance while carrying an elevated confidence all year.

We're a football school to the nth degree. However, when the only other really revenue generating sport can throw its weight and carry the foibles of the top dog, it feels great. 7-0 is spectacular.

KEEP FEEDING THE GREEN MACHINE

Marquee OOC Win

I'm thinking, if VT is on the bubble come March, the committe will put them in for 2 reasons:
1. This Win
2. They fired Seth Greenberg

You could be right...

If OSU has a strong season and makes it into the tourney as well as at least a 6th round seed IMO.

VTCC '86 Delta Derelicts, Honduras Hokie

I commend Green

for not turning his back on our univerisity and our team esp when things were not looking great for us way back before the season started. He stuck by his team and he is playing lights out. I hope he can carry us into the tourney this year, he def deserves it!

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

We're ranked 27th (if you look at the Others Receiving Votes) in the AP Poll. Just keep winning Hokies! Big game against WVU next week, let's see what this team is made of.

Rip his freaking head off!

I want to point out that this post has 2280 views. Yea, Hokie Nation is excited about this team. Keep it going guys and keep showing up to the games!

Rip his freaking head off!

Show up to the tree outs!

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

Yeah just noticed.

That's about 1,000 more than all of the others I've written.