Monday was a very busy day.
The Hokies ran No. 10 (and defending national champions) North Carolina out of the Cassell this week on the backs of great passing and a rediscovered affinity for hitting three-point shots. Even in photo form, you could definitely see the reasons why Virginia Tech beat the Tar Heels as soundly as they did.
To start off with, I'm going to cover some other areas before entering today's themes. I try not to take too much stock into how hot the Hokies shoot during warmups, but it was definitely something I noticed on Monday. Threes were swishing in more regularly, players were dancing to the music blaring out of the center-roof speakers, and Tyrie Jackson got his daily allowance of ups:
Hokiesports hit the Cassell hard in the first media timeout, honoring the newest member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Frank Beamer.
Here we have one of my favorite types of shots to get. This time, the frame is angled more down than up. The blackout in Cassell doesn't really make for good photos from the floor, but the reflections on the court are always going to be there.
Also, look how wide open NAW is! This happened all game long thanks to those paint touches.
The Hokies absolutely crushed the paint touches metric on the stat sheet on Monday. UNC could not help but crash the runner, leaving the outside completely open. I probably took this kind of photo a dozen times throughout the game, and it only got better for the Hokies as the game went on.
Justin Bibbs got so far into the paint that the shadow of the basket is falling on his face. That's how far in he waited before somehow looping the ball completely around the back of UNC's Kenny Williams.
Here is Ahmed Hill doing the exact same thing:
Chris Clarke got into the fun:
Justin Robinson took an especial liking to the play, drawing three UNC defenders all to himself. The Hokies broke down the UNC defensive scheme thoroughly by the end of the game.
Here we have the play-after-the-play. Ahmed Hill receives the outlet pass following a paint touch and splashes down a wide open three with UNC's Luke Maye helplessly flailing 3 feet away. The Hokies bench made sure to let him know his night was done after that.
Buzz was a fan of pretty much everything the Hokies did that night. Here he's high-fiveing P.J. Horne so fast that he breaks the sound barrier with his hand.
I shoot at 1/1000 for basketball in Cassell and I almost never have motion blur at that speed. Buzz really ripped into it on his run-in with the
Over a span of four glorious minutes, I snuck off to the gap between the tables at mid-court, right next to the TV announcers. This gives me an unobstructed, head-on vantage point to make photos of Buzz, which I did to the tune of 273 of them.
Here we have Buzz before and after when something didn't go the Hokies way on defense. If you've read my previous photo stories before, you know I'm all about faces, and Buzz didn't disappoint.
C is for Cookie. (And the post-game cookie that I kept from the Mission BBQ pre-game meal hit the spot too.)
Something this vantage point also gives you is a better view of the first few rows behind the bench. Here we have Buzz, assistant coach Steve Roccaforte, and a smattering of fans letting the refs know that they can point to the right really well.
And finally, to round off, a photo that most of you have probably seen by now.
You can see the whole gallery, including the court storming, here and every other photo gallery The Key Play has at photos.thekeyplay.com.
See you all in Cassell on February 3rd!