Hokies Lose to Duke, Await Selection Sunday

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The Hokies couldn’t keep their momentum going through the ACC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, falling to #2 seed Duke 77-63. Virginia Tech is now 21-11 on the season, and they will discover their postseason fate in tomorrow night’s Selection Show.

Tech suffered through their second consecutive tough shooting day, going just 21-of-57 (36.8%) from the field. They were 2-of-16 (12.5%) from three-point range, but the Hokies were able to make 19-of-24 (79.2%) free throw attempts to stay in the game.

Malcolm Delaney made all 10 of his free throws and paced the Hokies with 19 points. However, he was just 4-of-14 from the field and 1-of-6 from three-point range. Erick Green added 17 points for Tech, going 7-of-16 from the field and 1-of-6 from the outside.

The Hokies were hurt by Jeff Allen, who fouled out after playing just 26 minutes. He had only two points and seven rebounds, and was just 1-of-7 from the field. Victor Davilla chipped in with 11 points and six rebounds, while Manny Atkins had six points and five boards off the bench.

ACC Player of the Year Nolan Smith injured his toe in Friday night’s quarterfinal win over Maryland, and it wasn’t clear how healthy he would be for today’s game. However, Smith played, and played very well. He scored 27 points and had six assists,and was the best player on the court.

The Hokies held an early 10-8 lead and were doing a solid job hitting their jumpers. However, the Blue Devils were able to get offensive rebounds and 50-50 balls in the first half, and their second chance points propelled them to a 39-28 halftime lead.

Virginia Tech did a much better job on the boards in the second half, and managed to cut the lead to 41-35 two minutes into the half. However, as the game went on, the Hokies weren’t able to knock down their open jumpers, and the Blue Devils were able to extend their lead.

Overall, Duke was the bigger, fresher and more talented team, which the final score indicated. The Hokies needed all of their players to make a solid contribution, and they did for the most part. Unfortunately Jeff Allen played a poor game. He not only shot poorly from the field, but he committed four turnovers, and in general was not sharp.

Virginia Tech will have to wait it out for one more day before they find out if they destined for the NCAA Tournament, or headed back to the NIT. The NCAA Tournament Selection Show will be televised at 6pm on Sunday on CBS.

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