The Virginia Tech men's basketball team came out well-rested and firing on all cylinders on the road against #14 Florida State. Attacking the rim, draining three pointers, and playing suffocating defense, the Hokies took a 33-19 lead heading into halftime.
Then, to put it plainly, some things changed.
The Seminoles sprinted out of the locker room and into a second half lead, trounced Tech for a good chunk of time before trading buckets down the stretch. FSU controlled almost all of the game's final 25 minutes. I say 25 minutes, because even though they faced long odds and were victim to an epic comeback, the Hokies did their damndest to lock up a win.
That three from Ahmed Hill tied the game and sent things to overtime, but it was also indicative of what Tech lacked for most of the second half. Nickeil Alexander-Walker broke down his defender, got into to lane, found his man in the corner for a semi-open three, who then kicked it (to a better shooter) for an even more open three.
On its best days, Buzz Williams' offense would look like that all the time. Not just in the desperate closing seconds of a game that had already been tossed away.
But alas. Tech fell 73-64 in OT, mustering just three points in the extra session.
Alexander-Walker lead the way with a quiet 19 points, and Hill threw in 18 of his own. But as for the subpar offensive performance and what this game means in the bigger picture?
I have some thoughts.
Kerry Blackshear's importance, highlighted in the worst way
It's futile to complain about the officiating. No matter how a team gameplans, they can never know how a group of referees will call an individual game. And even if they did, they could never plan at halftime if the officials decide to completely change the way they call offensive fouls or seemingly close their eyes and guess once a guard gets in the paint.
I mean, damn. The three zebras were somehow the worst team on the floor in a game where the two schools combined to hit less 30% from three.
The person who drew the shortest end of the officiating straw was Blackshear, who fouled out after playing just 24 minutes. Though he scored just nine points on only two made field goals, he showed yet again that he's the team's most valuable player with Robinson out.
From time to time articles may be published exclusively for members of The Key Players Club. Unfortunately this has become necessary in order to bring attention to The Key Players Club and increase the value and incentive for joining. Ultimately it will enable The Key Play to continue to publish its first-rate content, stay online, and maintain top-flight server speeds.