Virginia Tech doubled up Saint Francis, with a point to spare. Ahmed Hill dropped 19 points in the 75-37 drubbing. Good teams handle their business, and ultimately the No. 13 Hokies did just that.
However, it was a tight contest late in the first half — 23-23, Tech with 3:42 left — before the Hokies blew the doors open.
The comfortable win provided some candid post-game reflection, especially from Buzz Williams.
The Red Flash drained 4 triples in the first half, which led Williams to go in-depth on defensive triangle concepts.
"You want to play with flat triangles," said Williams. "And the taller your triangle is, the worse shape you are in defensively. And you want to hold that flat triangle, as long as you can, as much as you can. When the triangle changes shapes, it's because somebody didn't guard the ball, and we need help, and then you're in rotation. What we got to do is, hold that triangle, hold that flat triangle longer, better which means we need to guard the ball better. But too often times so far through five games, we're helping guard the ball, which takes us out of a flat triangle when we don't need help guarding the ball, and understanding the line of 'yes he requires my help, no he doesn't require my help'. That's where we're struggling, and at times particularly in the first half they got threes because we were helping, when we didn't need to help. Much better in the second half of holding the triangle, and not helping."
Williams touched on minute allocation for his
bigs bigger players, and the need for "Mean P.J." (Horne).
"Well K.J. (Kerry Blackshear Jr.) through five games is playing 20 minutes, which is what he played tonight," said Williams. "And the effectiveness that P.J. played with tonight was dramatically better than he had the previous four games. We're going to need him to have more of an impact, and we're going to need K.J. to be able to play more than 20 minutes. I was encouraged by P.J. What I've been telling him is, we need him to be mean P.J., need him to be mean, and I thought he was more mean in how he played today."
Horne played 20 minutes, grabbed 4 rebounds, and chipped in 8 points. Although Williams admitted when Horne is in the game, the "play catalog shrinks significantly".
Hill revealed his defensive shortcomings contributed to a dip in minutes last season. He averaged 29.7 minutes in 2016-17, 25.2 in '17-18, and thus far in '18-19: 35.0.
"Last year I wasn't capable of being who they thought I would be, or being the defensive player," said Hill. "Minutes got changed. That's something that happened, it's a job. This offseason I focussed on playing better defense, learning the positions, learning when to rotate, things like that. I always had confidence on the offensive side, but I would lose confidence defensively, and just think about messing up all the time."
The season is still young, but Hill's field goal and three-point percentages are both above 50 (53.7% and 56.0%), career highs.
And finally, there was this tremendous fastbreak dunk.