Buzzketball Outscores The Citadel 132-93

Defense, who needs defense? Three Hokies score over 20 as Tech rolls the Bulldogs in Blacksburg.

[Mark Umansky]

Up and down.

Up and down.

Up and down.

There's no other way to introduce Virginia Tech men's basketball's 132-93 win over The Citadel. Both teams like to run the floor, play fast, and score. And by God did both squads do that in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night.

The Hokies firmly controlled the game by consistently breaking down the Bulldogs' full-court pressure and getting out in transition. Junior point guard Justin Robinson started things off with a bang, scoring his team's first eight points less than two minutes into regulation, but it was just the start of an offensive onslaught from everyone in gray.

Freshman phenom Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 21 in the first half. Big man Kerry Blackshear Jr. had a ridiculous 22/15/8 (yes, for those scoring at home, that's eight assists). Chris Clarke also had a double-double with 15 and 10. Robinson finished with 19 points and seven dimes, and Ahmed Hill shot 61% from the floor and had 20 of his own.

Buzz Williams may not have enjoyed it much, but hot damn, watching a team score 132 points is exciting.

Tech dominated nearly everything on that end of the floor. They shot 69% from the field (you better believe I rounded up from 68.6%), hit over half of their threes, and had 36 assists on 48 made baskets. Yes, the Bulldogs' defense is atrocious, but it's still a statistical sight to behold for the Hokies.

But with the good comes the bad. The Citadel saw two guys break 20, had a ton of open shots from the perimeter, and were able to turn the home team over quite a bit. Though it seemed like they were down 20 in the blink of an eye, the Bulldogs never stopped doing what they do best—operate at a breakneck pace.

Despite the 132, it wasn't the greatest outing for the Hokies. They were sloppy on defense (more on that later), the non-Robinson lineups had problems with giveaways, and they weren't particularly good from the free throw line (24-36, 67%).

Yes, it's only the second game of the year, and the team's second in three days. But the matchup against the Bulldogs was supposed to be a tuneup for the upcoming 2K Classic in Madison Square Garden. Instead, the Hokies go in against Saint Louis with lingering questions. Again, it's early. And even a loss in New York wouldn't be the end of the world, especially if it came against a solid Providence squad.

But the issues still stand. After breaking 100 twice in a row, what will happen when Tech meets actual resistance on offense? How much will things break down in the half court? Will they try to get out and run as much as they have this weekend?

All great things to watch going into Thursday's game against the Billikens.

The good, the bad, and the defense

We have to start with the defense, which was a relative disaster at times for Tech. Since they're playing one big (at most), everyone on the team needs to do a better job both individually and as a group. The start of the regular season has shown sloppy rotations, lackadaisical on-ball defending, and general miscommunication.

Some of it stems from youth, and the lack of minutes these guys have played together—even the more experienced guys like Devin Wilson and Blackshear still have a year of rust to shake. But they're just not crisp working as a unit yet, and it resulted in a lot of open shots tonight. For instance, you'd think when an opponent is hitting over 50% from three, like the Bulldogs were doing for a long stretch, guys would stop going under screens. Yet the practice continued.

You would think it'd be hard to lose Hayden Brown or Tariq Simmons, the two Bulldog players who broke 20. Yet the pair consistently found themselves with open shots.

Again, it's tough to take a lot from this one. With The Citadel's pace-of-play, it's easy to get caught running up and down with them, something that will often result in an inflated score. But I can't decide if this lack of execution is in part due to playing down to competition, the lack of overall experience, or if it's something that'll be a problem all season.

I tend to lean between a combination of the three, but it's Williams' biggest issue to fix in the non-conference.

On a few lighter notes:

Alexander-Walker could've had 40, and the fact that he only ended with 29 points speaks to Tech's willingness to pass more than anything else. In the two games plus the scrimmage, the offense has moved the ball around splendidly, which has resulted in a bunch of uncontested looks.

The Bulldogs play small, so it's hard to take Blackshear's scoring and rebounding numbers seriously. But his most impressive feat? The way he passed.

It's not just about leading the team in assists, which for a 6'10" power forward is impressive as is, but it's about the way he saw the court. He wasn't just passing out from the post to open shooters. He found cutters from the elbow, he hit guys running the baseline, he found them in transition. If Blackshear can score consistently against ACC bigs, he'll be even more dangerous. Because the minute anyone brings an extra defender to guard him, KJ can find the open teammate.

Justin Bibbs coming back should really fix a few things defensively. He was Tech's most consistent perimeter defender last year, and could do a number on opposing wings. I'm interested to see which lineups he'll find himself in upon his return, because giving him a lot of Wilson's "power forward" minutes would make a ton of sense. And though I'll never pretend to know what's going on in Buzz's head, having the senior run the young guns unit with Tyrie Jackson, Wabissa Bede, P.J. Horne, and Alexander-Walker is very enticing.

And finally, the more players Buzz brings in, the more it brings out Clarke's best attributes. The young guys want to get out and run the break, and you know who has the best full-court vision on the roster? Clarke. There was a moment in the second half where Blackshear grabbed a board, gave it to Clarke, and the junior found a streaking Hill for a layup a second later.

If the knee stays healthy, we'll really get to see how dangerous of a weapon he is.

Comments

I'm all aboard this hype train. We can do some great things this year.

When was the last time VT basketball scored 100+ in consecutive, non-OT games?

Hell, when's the last time we did it in two games in a single season?

I believe they said it was 09-10, one of which was the Maryland ice storm game. God I loved to hate Grievous Vasquez.

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

Yup, we hit 100 in two games that season, both were OT games though. I've gone back to the beginning of the Greenberg years and we've never done it without OT since then.

On Vasquez, that dude really knew how to get under other team's fans' skin, or at least us. He flipped the bird to our student section in warmups, I think it was my freshman year, and the booing every time he touched the ball was deafening.

the Maryland ice storm game

Man I almost forgot about that game. I walked from Oak Manor with my roommates and our girlfriends (all wives now) to the game. I've never seen Cassell so empty for an ACC game in my life. It was an absolute blast though as were basically able to sit wherever we wanted.

Sometimes I like to leave off the /s just to mess with people.

The first two games of the 1977-78 season, when we beat Ohio Northern 104-73 and Ohio Wesleyan 111-71.

The offense was good enough that I didn't notice how bad the defense s as until after it was over

"I'll put a quote here to distract you from my inane comment."-Me

For those interested, the school record for pts in a game is 141 in a game that went to double OT in 1988. So while not the record, this is the most points we've scored in regulation

And I was there. Game was a lot of fun, Bimbo Coles had 50. Afterward, one of our party decided she didn't like basketball because it was "too exciting". But of course, that was back in the day when some folks would tell you we didn't play much basketball.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

BUZZKETBALL OUTSCORES STORMS THE CITADEL 132-93

Ftfy. Jk

Thanks Brian. Great read.

The games themselves don't mean much, what with the competition and all, but the important part is how stellar NAW and Blackshear look. IMO that are the two most important players for our success.

I may need to TKP harder, but why was Bibbs benched for the second straight game? I saw he was in Buzz's doghouse, but did not see he was injured and if he is not suspended then one would think he would at least get a few minutes to make sure he is getting up to game speed.

I missed this game. While 132 points jumps off the box score, so does 19 TOs and 22 fouls. Those are concerning statistics indicating sloppy play, especially considering the competition.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

Don't quote me on this.

But I think violation of team rules equals out to 10% of the season suspension by NCAA rules. So about three games.

It was a catch!

If I made a funny comment I probably stole it from Reddit.

I think the assumption is that it might involve a certain substance that is now legal in a few states. To the best of my knowledge nothing is official about the why, so this is all speculation.

While 132 points jumps off the box score, so does 19 TOs and 22 fouls. Those are concerning statistics indicating sloppy play, especially considering the competition

When you possess the ball a million times, those numbers are always going to be higher. I put absolutely no stock into the statistics from this game except for how lights out we were on so many shots. The shot clock barely got to 10 for either team all game long. It's fun to score 132 points, but I hope we never play them again.

This was neat.

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Oh god him coming down on that one leg like that had me holding my breath 😳😳😳

Not going to panic about poor defense against Citadel as their style of play is unique to our schedule. But we need to tighten things up for next game and conference play.

Go Hokies.

They shot 69% from the field (you better believe I rounded up from 68.6%)

This quote is the epitome of why I come here

Don't look now (because it's pretty meaningless), but we're the #3 scoring team in the country

#1 vs Division 1 opponents. New Mexico scored 147 vs Northern New Mexico. North Texas scored 122 vs Eureka

I am not so worried about turnovers if fg% is high.

All told, we had 95 possessions last night split 47/48 by half. 19 turnovers means 80% of the possessions ended with a shot. 33 total possessions without a point means about 65% of the time, we came away with at least 1 point. When you have 90+ possessions, 65% adds up.

I'm hoping and expecting to see a cleaner game against Saint Louis. Looking ahead to their team, they've played only one game and rotated just 8 players.

For the VT Has a Big Man Problem fans, don't get worried about this one. The only guys they played over 6'7 combined for 17 total minutes in a 16 point victory over Seattle. Their 3 minutes leaders, all over 30 mins, are between 6'3 and 6'6, and one of them went 0-12 from the field.

We should match up really favorably with these guys and be able to rest dudes for (hopefully) Providence on Friday.

Blackshear will be the best big man on the court for every game but Duke probably, just fyi to the VT Has Big Man Problem fans.

Always choose joy.

That's really exciting to hear. He has certainly impressed me in his first two games back this year, and it looks like he works really well in the style of basketball we're successful with

Likewise, look at Providence's minutes leaders:
1. Kyron Cartwright - 5'11"
2. Jalen Lindsey - 6'7"
3. Rodney Bullock - 6'8"
4. Alpha Diallo - 6'7"
5. Isaiah Jackson - 6'6"
6. Nate Watson - 6'10"
7. Makai Ashton-Langford - 6'3"

Their 6'10" player has only averaged 19 minutes per game. They're a little bit taller at the wing positions, but there shouldn't be an advantage there given our athleticism.

Also, I wouldn't sleep on Washington. They always seem to recruit great athletes and they could very well end up beating Providence.

Solely for the sake of our RPI, I realllllly hope Providence takes care of business there

I wouldn't worry about RPI this early. I agree that Providence is much more likely to be a better RPI team and a better win than Washington, but at this point of the season there are a lot of possibilities.

goodraisin's back. must be basketball season :-P

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Lol, well I do have Deron Washington teabagging Greg Paulus as my avatar, so it makes sense right?

Touche. Going off of that, how do you feel about Big East vs. Pac 12 this year? Both have 3 teams in the Top 25 right now, if I'm not mistaken.

I think the Pac-12 will be the stronger conference this year, especially if you're talking about the first 5-6 teams in each conference, but man that's just a guess right now. It's a shame we had to catch St. Louis on a down year, they were really trending upward for a while.

You caught me off guard for a second when JRob was listed as a senior.

Luckily he's still only a junior.

Yes,that's the Hokie Bird riding a camel. Why'd you ask?

This hype training is coming at the right time as the football hype train is now long gone.

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

Thats more points than fans at a UVA spring game.

No, literally this time.

Looks like the players didn't even bother to show up.

That's a new one, even for LOLUVA.

"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"

The things that caught my attention:

Scoring went about where I thought it would pre-game. Only concerns on the offensive end are two.

1) Don't pass to Blackshear in transition unless he is standing still. Every time I saw them hit him with a pass he ended up losing the ball below his knees if he was close to scoring.

2) Free Throws: I know its only two games and some of this may balance out as Buzz is forced to shorten the rotation but they currently are shooting 68% or 44 of 64 from the charity stripe. This is concerning because its not something you necessarily improve that greatly on from week to week without some major focus. Also, its not like its just one person bringing down the average as in years past. Hopefully they can put some improvement in here. An extra five points per contest isn't that important in some of these OOC games but come the ACC slate that's a make or break number most nights.

Defense

This could go on all day but I will stick with two points.

1) Perimeter Defense - We have sounded like a broken record on this but the fact that you knew the team coming in was going to bombard the outside shot and yet you still allow them to go 14-32 or a cool 44%. That followed the first game where Detroit Mercy went 9-29. Not as bad the first game out but also a much lesser opponent in terms of perimeter shooting talent. Regardless, giving up an average of double digit threes per night is a recipe for disaster against better teams. I will concede that some of the Matt Frierson shots were fairly indefensible since he was shooting from about five or six feet behind the arc. Not much you can do there.

2) Inability to defend the cross lane dribble drive - I am not sure how many times I watched SloMo Hayden Brown just meander his way diagonally across the lane to lay it up, especially moving left to right. Freshmen Tariq Simmons also did a number on the glass laying it in.

Buzz I imagine will also focus in on the film from about the 10:30 mark in the second half to the 8:30 mark, where the Hokies committed six turnovers in the blink of an eye. It allowed The Citadel to go on a 10 point run but against a better opponent it likely would have been much higher.

Why did I pick these two? Because it shows we didn't excel at guarding the perimeter or the paint and against a smaller lineup to boot. Not as big a deal against St Louis maybe, but Providence has two legitimate bigs and also has four kids from Virginia that I am sure will be motivated to stick it to an home state team. Led by Maliek White from Richmond, the Friars will be a handful. Nate Watson, their backup freshmen center had 9 pts and 6 boards in 17 minutes in their first game. He is from Hampton. Providence also is pretty balanced in their scoring attack, with eight players scoring at least 7 points in the first game. St Louis relies heavily on its starters so if the Hokies can get them in early foul trouble, the talent drop off is significant there.

Anyway, 2-0 is better than many prior season starts. Hopefully by the end of the weekend, they will be 4-0.

I'm not really worried about FT's at this point. Looking over the roster, basically Clarke is the only concerning shooter and that's no different from his first two seasons (67% FT shooter for his career). Robinson is a career 75% FT shooter and shot 77% last season on a ton of attempts so I'm confident he will settle in. Bede is a true freshman and seems to be struggling a little bit to find his shot, but he'll probably be playing the least minutes of the FR once Bibbs is back. These 3 guys are 9/18 = 50% The rest of the team is 35/46 = 76%

Last year we shot 74% which would be 3 more made FT across these 2 games. 1 more from each of Clarke, Robinson and Bede. And of course both games were blowouts where no trip to the line was a clutch moment.

I will be watching to see how much Clarke improves at the line this year since he apparently worked a lot on his shooting this past off-season.

KJB is going to be taking a lot of the FT attempts that LeDay had last year....and KJB is a marginal FT shooter. 60% is about right for him.

LeDay and Allen were good FT shooters and got to the line a lot. Maybe NAW and Rob are as good of FT shooters, need to get them to the line. Bibbs and Hill are solid.

All great points and there's a reason that you have the tag next to your name. But does the fact we've gotten to the line 64 times in two games excite you or is that more of a product of the competition?

Edit: meant to reply to above

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

If you remember two years ago, the team raced out to one of the highest free throw attempts in the country in OOC play but once we hit the ACC schedule it dropped down to around 20-22 trips most games. The higher the skills of the opponent will lessen the number of times to the line. The officials have been tasked again this season to focus heavily on blocks, which helps raise that total but it goes both ways, so if the Hokies continue to play defense the way they have, then they could quickly be on the short end when it comes to free throws. We sent these two vastly inferior teams to the line 42 times in two games. That is a bigger concern to me than how many times we got to the line against them.

I'm just amazed we shot better from the field (69%) than we did from the FT line (67%).

Not worried about the defense against these teams. When you're up 25 and scoring at will it's hard to lock in on D. The Freshmen especially were pretty slack in their rotations at times.

Providence is giving #14 Minnesota a game tonight