Hokies Fall to Hot-Shooting Louisville 91-83

Barrage of Cardinals' three-pointers leads to the Hokies' third consecutive loss.

Zach LeDay attempts to draw a charge. [Mark Umansky]

Rick Pitino has long been known for defense, a confounding matchup zone and equally effective full-court press hallmarks of his Hall of Fame coaching career. This year, Pitino's pretty fond of his offense, too.

"This is not one of my finer defensive teams...(But) we are a terrific offensive team," said Pitino. "We had one bad shooting night, Clemson, and everybody thinks we're a bad shooting team. (Trey) Lewis and (Damion) Lee can shoot the hell out of of the basketball."

And on this night, oh was Pitino right. The Cardinals drained a remarkable 12 of 18 from behind the arc — 10 of which came from the aforementioned Lee and Lewis — and survived a brief first half scare on their way to a convincing 91-83 victory over the home standing Hokies.

The Hokies played well — 12 turnovers and 33 points from the charity stripe are oft numbers from the winning side. Throw in a near even rebounding margin and a decent enough shooting night, and head coach Buzz Williams had all the ingredients he deemed necessary for an upset win over the sixteenth-ranked Cardinals. So when that victory didn't come to fruition, Williams had a succinct message for his team — I'm sorry.

"We had less turnovers than they did. We had the same number of offensive rebounds than they did. We gave them four points in transition. They shot one more ball than we did," lamented Williams. "So I apologized to the team — you guys did everything that I asked you to do. I thought you played with great heart, great energy."

"We call 3 consecutive baskets a "heat," Williams added. "We had 8 heats against the number one field goal percentage defense team in the country. Number two (in the country) in offensive rebounds as far as points per possession, (tonight) they score nine. We made 33 free throws and only turned it over 12 times, I would say we're gonna win that game."

But as the headline shows, the Hokies did not win, due at least in part to a brilliant 29-point performance from graduate transfer Damion Lee. Lee was effective in every area — 6 assists and 5 rebounds had glimpses of a triple-double on the horizon late in the second half.

Louisville star big man Chinanu Onuaku played just 3 minutes in the first half after picking up two early fouls, but the Maryland native made his presence felt over the game's final twenty minutes with 7 second half points. The Hokies threw the kitchen sink at Onuaku, but perhaps no Hokie big was more impressive defensively than the rarely-used Johnny Hamilton, a positive sign for a Virginia Tech team lacking a strong interior presence.

Jalen Hudson had his most complete game of the season and finished with 27 points and 7 rebounds. The Richmond native was aggressive from the opening tip, repeatedly drawing fouls from Cardinals' defenders that had a nightmarish time trying to keep him in front.

It was a distinctly similar story for Seth Allen. The Maryland transfer finished with 26 points, 13 coming from the free throw line. Pitino raved about the offensive ability of Allen postgame, even lobbing out a lofty comparison to a former NBA point guard who ended up enshrined in Springfield.

"Allen is as tough a point guard as there is to defend," said Pitino. "There's a lot of Tiny Archibald, much better player than Seth Allen, but Seth Allen's got a lot of Tiny Archibald in him. He goes to the left, he finds the guy's body and hits it and still gets a shot off. It's rare when that kid gets his shot blocked because he makes the contact first."

Zach LeDay had his typical productive night, quietly throwing together a 20 point, 3 rebound performance that makes you wonder how the undersized forward manages to fill up the box score with such reliable frequency.

The Hokies jumped on the Cardinals early and held an 8-point lead through ten minutes before Pitino burned his first timeout. Pitino's message to his troops clearly paid dividends as the Cardinals rattled of a 10-2 run that tied the game at 22 with 7:04 to play. The game stayed tight over the final seven minutes, but Lee hit a last second three-pointer to close out the half that gave Louisville a 38-34 advantage headed into the break.

The Hokies never led again. They came close, sure, but backbreaking three after backbreaking three seemed to suck the air out of a Cassell Coliseum crowd of more than 7,000. Tech fought valiantly late, fouling over the game's final minute in hopes of a comeback, but ultimately the high-powered Louisville offense emerged victorious.

But even despite the Hokies' third-straight loss, the admirable effort of Williams' gritty squad — against a perennial college basketball power, no less — continues to represent progress for a program in such desperate need of it.

"I'm not trying to get rid of him, but he would make a great pro coach," said Pitino of Williams. "He puts you in pick-and-roll isolations that hurt Virginia, hurt us. They hurt everybody with it."

"Everything he does offensively is difficult. He's really one of our bright young coaches in our game. For the second year at Virginia Tech, he's doing an awesome job."

Comments

Louisville's Lee #0 missed 2 FG attempts and 1 free throw. Hard to defend someone that hot.

It's Time to go to Work

Also, if you're a good shooter, easy to get that hot when you get so many open looks

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I've loved the effort this team has given this year especially on the defensive end but the perimeter defense has lacked all season

I attribute that to the need of extra help inside which opens up the perimeter shooting

It's Time to go to Work

They started guarding him way outside after his 6th 3-ball in a row, or something. But, yeah... some of the shots that he was jacking up, I'm gonna let you have that all day. If you hit them, good for you.

Leonard. Duh.

He was hitting some of them from 5 feet behind the arc. You rarely defend out there.

When your opponent is dropping everything he lets fly, I'd defend him anywhere he is

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Statistically, the more they hit, the more you should let them shoot. Especially if they are shooting increasingly worse shots. If a colllege player has a 24'er, he's probably got a 20% chance of making it. Let him have it. If a college team has made 80% of their 3's, they are due to miss about 5 in a row.

This was just one of those games where they made the shots. But the analytics say let them keep taking low percentage shots as long as they want. The more you extend your defense, the more better percentage shots are available.

To me, that makes about as much sense as saying, "hey, the more completions that QB throws, the less we should pressure him...he's due for an INT any minute now."

Most misses in the game are because D forces the shot to be somewhat altered, or under pressure. If you're a shooter, you will hit the vast majority of open shots your opponent gives you.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I agree. I think Buzz should have put someone on him and not play help D, a contested jumper or lay-up is much better than a drive 'n dump three to a guy who has not missed. I trust Buzzketball to the fullest, but if we had taken away 2 or 3 of those triples, imagine the difference.

"Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." -Ron Swanson

I went to my first Virginia Tech bowl game while I was in the womb.

Games like this are examples of how we're just not quite there yet. We played pretty well, it just wasn't enough. We scrapped hard to keep it close but couldn't get over the hump. A little more seasoning and another player (Hill or Clarke or a recruit) and games like this (and UNC) can turn into Ws.

It's still impressive to see though. We're about a year further along than I thought we'd be as a program. I'm a HUGE Buzz fan but I didn't expect this to happen this quickly. He's done a remarkable job so far

I had the same reaction to this game. The team put everything on the table and Buzz scraped every ounce of production out of his talent... there just isn't quite enough on the roster yet to consistently compete with the ACC's top tier.

Proud to be a Hokie after the game though, it's a joy to watch a team work that hard for each other. The wins will come.

I'd say we've consistently competed with the ACC's top tier, we just haven't won there yet.

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

UVA?

"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

We're talking about the top tier

;)

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

I agree with these feelings. In years prior we couldn't even watch VT basketball because it was just too painful to watch a team you want to root for not come close to the potential. Now I think Buzz is able to get the players to play to their potential and then some. It truly is enjoyable to watch the team come so close even though its a loss.

They had two different guys who were untouchable from three. It was ridiculous.

Also, all of our points were scored by only 4 guys, so that's really weird.

It counts as a loss on the record but we didn't really lose this game as much as Cardinals won it. Real proud of the growth of this team as season progresses.

So technically we are 2-1 in the last three. Same as the ND game. It wasn't that we lost is as much as the refs won it. (yes I'm still bitter about that one)

(and yes I know it's baseball but that's how I thought about the refs that night)

If you don't want to recruit clowns, don't run a clown show.

"I want to punch people from UVA right in the neck." - Colin Cowherd

I do not blame the ref's for last night at all. They did a good job as far as I could tell.

Yeah, reffing was much better compared to a few others we've had recently

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

They were definitely calling fouls that were iffy at best, but they were calling the same ones for both teams. It really felt they were calling any contact for a defender, which is super shitty, but they called the same bullshit for Louisville. Reffing definitely did not lose us that game.

Besides, I knew after ten minutes the refs were gonna call that shit all game...and if I knew it I am sure everyone on the team knew it too. If you really think that's why we lost the game, you should probably blame the team for not adjusting.

Indeed proud of our guys. Sometimes you just can't stop hot shooters. Glaring is the fact that our bigs scored ZERO points. We need help there.

foresthokie
US Navy Vet

Unfortunately this is partly a symptom of Zach Leday playing the majority of his minutes in the role of a "big" for us. This means there is only one spot at any one time to rotate Henry, Pierce, Hamilton and Blackshear unless Leday is in foul trouble or needs a breather. It still should have come with some offensive production but your most consistent offensive threat amongst that group, Blackshear was in serious foul trouble and sat on the bench much more than normal and never really seemed to have his head in this game at all when he was on the court. The true bigs played 41 minutes, so one minute over one spot on the floor for the length of the game. You also have to look at ball distribution on the offensive end of the floor. The bigs only attempted 4 shots in this game, one of those was Hamilton's terrible dunk attempt and Hamilton was fouled on his other. Henry went 0-2 and Blackshear didnt even attempt a shot to show how out of this game he was.

More concerning to me out of that entire group was that in 41 minutes they only managed to get 7 rebounds amongst them, 3 for Henry and 4 for Hamilton. Blackshear pulled the statistical anomaly of five personal fouls with no other stat line in 14 minutes on the floor.

The most concerning to me though was that Robinson and Wilson also went scoreless playing a combined 30 minutes, which essentially said you were playing 3 on 5 on the offensive end when it came to scoring. These two again only attempted 2 shots which came from Robinson and one of those shots was a wild three as time was close to expiring at the end of the game. Those two's combined stat line was no points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 turnover while holding a spot on the floor for three quarters of the game combined.

You cant allow a team to be able to focus on three guys. Those guys did a bang up job for the most part by scoring all our points but its also why we have to suffer through seeing Allen throw prayers from outside with no regards for results.

And let's be honest. Wilson literally adds no offensive value when on the court. Even his ball handling is suspect. I do love his effort on the defensive end... But when Allen is on the bench and Buzz puts in Robinson and Wilson, you know that the scoring distribution on the floor is greatly reduced.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I don't agree with that. Wilson is very effective at rotating the ball, driving to draw for kickouts and he can finish on drives as well as anyone on the team.

Shooting doesn't equal offense. Wilson creates better shots for his teammates consistently. We often play very well on offense when he's in the game.

Honestly, I don't see it. However, I'm not a basketball X's & O's guy, so I regress.

I would love to see some stats on offensive efficiency when he is in the game. It seems as if the offense slows way down when he is in. But again, I'm not the best judge of those types of things in the basketball world.

Is coronavirus over yet?

http://www.sports-reference.com/cbb/players/devin-wilson-2.html

See Advanced - OBPM -

Devin is about eighth or ninth on the team in this category at a -0.7, so it shows he is a liability on the offensive side of the ball, but his defense is a positive so it takes him up to a Total BPM of 1.7, that's still only seventh on the team, but if you consider his playing time and expectation to contribute, that's about right especially when you remove outliers like Johnny Hamilton having the second highest BPM on the team.

I am hoping Blackshear's game was an anomaly, he was just totally out of it last night after a great game against Carolina. Hopefully, he will grow out of this type of effort. He could have made a big difference last night.

I really like Blackshear's game, but he has got to learn how to defend without picking up fouls man. Especially the pick and roll. He's way too talented to be sitting on the bench with two fouls less than halfway through the 1st half. Hamilton played well last night, but when Blackshear is on the floor I feel we are much more dangerous team, especially offensively.

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." - Jay Bilas

It felt like we had a great gameplan and that it was working through the first 10 minutes, and then we got away from driving the ball for the middle 20 minutes of the game. Still a great game to watch though.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

It was a great game, but that pace that we ran at through the first 10 minutes couldn't hold up, and a big key to that game plan was them missing shots and us getting the board and running...once they started hitting what felt like 90% of their shots, it pretty much negated that plan.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Most of that pace was due to Hudson attacking the rim and settling for nothing short of layups and he still ended up with 27. I agreed with Allen postgame when he basically said, look, we put up 80 some points. Offense wasn't the problem. When you give up 50 points to the opposing backcourt, it's very tough to find ways to win the ball game.

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." - Jay Bilas

While I thought we played well, I was questioning the defensive strategy in the second half once it was clear that Lee and Lewis were hot.

The ball would get thrown inside and we would double-team the interior player - nearly every time, Louisville was able to pass out of the post and swing the ball to a wide open shooter. A lot of those 3 pointers in the second half were uncontested or the result of a defender scrambling to make up ground. I was surprised that Buzz didn't switch things up with straight man-to-man or go to some type of zone.

Speaking of defensive schemes - this Hokie squad is really good at defending pick-and-roll/ball screens, whether that's through switching or working through the screens to stay with their man. They fly around the court and have generally done a pretty good job of defending teams in ACC play (Duke being the lone exception).

On your first point: That is what happens when your opponent has both inside and outside weapons on the floor at the same time. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Pick your poison...
I'm not sure what a zone D would have done in this case, hmmm. I'm sure Buzz had his reasons - likely based on lots of study of L-ville tendencies.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Very encouraging comments from Pitino.

"It's rare when that kid gets his shot blocked because he makes the contact first."
lol he must not watch a lot of seth allen

Seth Allen 3-23 last 5 or 6 games. Those are awful stats.. almost like turnovers.

Not only is your stat incorrect, (He was 6-13 last night alone....) but it's short sided. Him getting to the basket, getting to the stripe and knocking them down is huge. Not to mention him getting the other team's bigs in foul trouble. Onoaku was a non-factor last night due in large part to Allen penetrating and creating contact. I should expect this by now from you, though. All you do is bash the kid. Good on ya, pal.

T_Sprad3

I just think most of the frustration is when he stops and wildly flails a three towards the basket. His three point percentage is horrible bordering on atrocious. He just needs to keep driving to the basket and maybe occasionally dumping to Leday or Bibbs for a three.

Absolutely agree. Can't figure out why either. The stroke looks good. No issues. Just not even close to falling from outside right now.

T_Sprad3

His stat is correct, he just forgot to type from three point range. It really is Allen's glaring weakness and is getting worse not better. Most other aspects of his game are close to top on the team other than defense and that is hit or miss.

Allen is 3-23 for three pointers over the last 6 games. Which is bad. Not his shot, but he can't accept that.

I love everything else he does for the team, just wish he would stop jacking the trey.

Edit: In that same timeframe he is 17/58 for the field, 29%...still not good, but that doesn't take into account all of the drives and fouls that he creates (shot 42/51, 82% from the line over those same 6 games).

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Same here. I scream at the TV every-time I see him stop outside the arc.

I think he's speaking about 3 point shooting, which has really been abysmal. Seth went 1-7 from 3 last night, bringing him to 25-101 on the season. (His last five games? 1-7, 1-5, 1-5, 0-1, 0-3) There's no excuse for him shooting 7 three's in a night, especially the two or three he always jacks up in transition. I agree, he is good at driving and getting to the line, getting a shot off or kicking it back out. His energy is key and going at the other team's bigs gives us a huge advantage. He should do that four more times a game until he can fix his three shooting woes.

They really need Blackshear to stay out of foul trouble. He seems to get a crazy amount of fouls trying to hedge ball screens too hard and not being able to get to the spot. There is a huge drop-off from him to Pierce/Hamilton and much harder to go small with Leday at the 5 against ACC competition.

"Everything he does offensively is difficult. He's really one of our bright young coaches in our game. For the second year at Virginia Tech, he's doing an awesome job."

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Pitino was one of the coaches saying that it was really hard to build a basketball team/culture in Blacksburg. It's cool to see this quote and for Buzz to be getting props he deserves

Pitino was one of the coaches saying that it was really hard to build a basketball team/culture in Blacksburg

If that's true, who the hell is he to act like he knows what can and can't be done in Blacksburg?

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I don't remember where I read it, but I don't think I made it up. A fan posted (either here or somewhere else) that they talked with Pitino and Billy Donovan at a camp or something. Both coaches ticked off a number of reasons it would be very hard to have success at Tech. I think it was right after Greenberg was fired. I took it as less condescending and more as insight into how this job is viewed by the coaching community.

It just rubs me the wrong way. I get we aren't an historical power in basketball, but Greenberg had just experienced some measure of success in the 00s.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I was at the game last night (great crowd!) and I thought Buzz came in with a great game plan to attack their Bigs early and get them in foul trouble. Combine that with the fact that we killed it at the free throw line and you give yourself a fighters chance against a really strong ACC opponent. The one thing that I could see that seemed to be the demise of the team was that with about 6:00 mins left to play, the defense seemed to have lost their legs. They just couldn't keep up the intensity the entire 40 minutes (at least that's what we saw).

Is coronavirus over yet?

It was a beautiful thing seeing great free throw shooting. Definitely a mark of an ACC team. I agree with the loss of defense in the last 6 min but Louisville couldn't miss any 3pt try. Ugh

as point guard as their is to defend

Joeyyyyy

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

My apologies. Transcribing/editing after midnight in advance of an 8 a.m. class is a quick process.

I'm just messing with you man, it's no biggie

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Oh, I know. It's all good.

To me, it seems like we don't get outworked, outscrapped or outcoached. We are, however, outmanned. We're getting there, no doubt, just need a couple more pieces to the puzzle.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

I'm hoping those pieces are on the bench with foot and patellar tendon injuries. Just imagine this team with Hill and Clarke back in the rotation. Dangerous.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

I really enjoyed the shuffle from Onuaku when he fouled out, fun to see the players engage the crowd in a civil, playful manner.

We need more boards from LeDay. Nobody can complain about the scoring, but when he is playing the 4, we need him to do more cleanup on the defensive glass.

I was so thrilled to see the way we attacked the basket, especially in the first 5 minutes or so. Allen and Hudson went straight at the rim almost every one of the first 20 possessions it seemed like, and it paid off by getting us off to an early lead. Definitely had the Cardinals on their heels early on.

"Stick it in, stick it in, stick it in!" - William Addison Caldwell, 1872

We are playing good ball. The Louisville team last night played like I've seen them play when they knock off the top seeds in the tourney in the past. When you can get a high percent of low percentage shots to fall you win. They did, they earned it, but not in a sustainable way. We are looking way better than I thought we would, despite a few youth/consistency issues, and needing one more athletic guy underneath (Clark?)

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

This could just be me but does anyone else feel like Seth Allen forces to many shots? He seems to have the green light to shoot whenever he wants with no consequences. When we need a basket in the worst kind of way I see him repeatedly rush a shot or force a drive.

I do think he is our best overall scoring threat but I find myself getting frustrated with him at points.

Even though we lost, Cassell was rocking last night. I was snowed in over the weekend so I was unable to make it to the UNC game, but I can't remember ever hearing Cassell that loud. Personally the coolest thing I witnessed were a number of football players sitting in our section including Lawson, Settle, Ford, and Stroman just to name a few. On a Wednesday night at 8 o'clock at night in freezing temps while there is still lots of snow on the ground and plenty of excuses not to go, the student body is showing up strong. Buzz is finally getting people excited to watch Hokie basketball again, and that in itself is a beautiful thing for our program.

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." - Jay Bilas

And putting butts in the seats makes the money men happy.

Win or lose, this team is the most exciting to watch team that we've had in the last five years.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

OT: Any TKPers going to the Syracuse game? Me and the MrsEMC will be there, rocking our Buzzketball shirts.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.