Backcourt Leads Tech to Win Over Clemson

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Virginia Tech beat Clemson 68-63 on Thursday night, overcoming a five point halftime deficit.  Tech’s backcourt dominated the game, and the Hokies’ reward is another game with the Duke Blue Devils on Friday night.

Erick Green had a rough three-game stretch to end the regular season, but he dropped 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting on Thursday night.  He was 2-of-4 from three-point range, and he made all eight of his free throws while dishing out four assists.

Green got a lot of help from fellow guard Dorenzo Hudson, who scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds.  Hudson was 6-of-12 from the field, 3-of-7 from three-point range and made all four of his free throws.  As a team, the Hokies were 17-of-20 from the charity stripe, breaking a recent streak of poor free throw shooting.

Dorian Finney-Smith played one of his best games as a Hokie, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals, and he did not commit a turnover.  A critical layup in traffic with 2:23 remaining by Finney-Smith gave Virginia Tech a 61-52 lead, and the Hokies were able to hang on for the win, though Clemson did cut the lead to three points with 17 seconds remaining.

Cadarian Raines added nine points and four rebounds for Tech.  Clemson obviously made it a focus to limit the touches of Raines, who had been putting up big numbers coming into Thursday night’s game.

Tech finished the regular season with just eight healthy scholarship players, and they used just seven players on Thursday.  Freshman point guard Marquis Rankin injured a knee in practice this week and was unable to play against Clemson.

This game was nip and tuck almost the whole way.  It was tied at 52 when Milton Jennings threw down a dunk at the 5:49 mark.  Then Dorenzo Hudson and Erick Green dropped back-to-back three-pointers on the Tigers to start the 9-0 run that gave the Hokies a 61-52 lead.

Clemson threatened to get back in the game, with Jennings drilling a three-pointer with 17 seconds left.  However, Hudson calmly hit two free throws with 15 seconds remaining, Clemson failed to score on their final possession, and the Hokies won 68-63.

Virginia Tech’s reward for beating Clemson is a third meeting with #2 seed Duke.  The Blue Devils beat the Hokies 75-60 in Cassell Coliseum back on February 2, and narrowly beat Tech again 70-65 in overtime on February 25.  Duke power forward Ryan Kelly is out for the ACC Tournament with an injury.

With the win on Thursday, the Hokies pulled their record even at 16-16, and their chances for a berth in the NIT remain alive.  They are now 3-1 in first round games in the ACC Tournament.  Tip-off for tomorrow’s game with Duke is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN2 and the ACC Network.

Box Score

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16 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Mr. Coleman & Mr. Stewart –

    YES!

    Free Throws, Free Throws, FREE Throws!

    This is what wins close games and FINISHES the game when your opponent is fouling you to get the ball back in their possession. If the Hokies lose to Duke, it won’t be due to lack of effort, it will be failure at the charity stripe again. Good game by Green and Hudson all-around and at the charity stripe. Momma is proud.

    God bless Hokie Nation.
    Slim

  2. Robert Brown is a terrible ball handler. He has several turnovers over the end of the season at the end of games when we are trying to close out the game. He is not a good free throw shooter either, which makes me wonder why he has the ball in his hands. Seth needs to work on some inbound plays also. Great win though. Great to see Hudson play well. He/we deserve it.

    1. I watched Brown several times in high school and he was never A “terrible ball handler”! He is still a true freshman playing in one of the top conferences in college basketball. Davila was a “terrible ball handler” but improved with time (although still not great). You need to learn an important life process. Show a little patience. Not every player is an overnight wonder and Brown will be just fine!!

  3. This was an impressive game for the team. But, a couple things still reared their ugly head:

    – DFS: Still curious why he has the green light to shoot ANY 3s?

    – Tech still had the classic 5-6 minute scoreless streak in the middle of the second half.

    – Has anyone else noticed that VT is probably the worst team at simply inbounding the ball? I know it can have to do with where the ball is spotted, but still they are painful to watch.

    – Has Robert Brown looked a little off to anyone else toward the end of the season?

    1. Agree with #1 especially considering he is such a matchup nightmare when going to the hoop.

      On #2, we were just lucky that Clemson struggled as much during the same stretch.

      #3 has been the case during Seth’s tenure. I think it goes back to either not being able to teach offensive concepts or not having great ones to start. Either way it is troubling that it always seems to be an issue.

      Brown definitely looks lost out there at times but he’s a freshman who has stepped up for the team at various points this season. I think he has a bright future.

      1. Can we put to bed the myth that Dorian Finney-Smith isn’t a good three-point shooter?

        For starters, he’s 6-8. Remember that when reading the following stats:

        DFS is a 34.8% three-point shooter. That’s fourth-best on the team, better than Dorenzo Hudson (33.3%) and Robert Brown (30.9%), both of whom have taken more three-pointers.

        34.8% is the equivalent of a 52% two-point shooter.

        During a 9-game stretch from Feb. 4th through Mar. 4th, DFS was 11-of-25 (44%) from three-point range.

        That’s a guy I want shooting the three. He’s a good three-point shooter. Great? No. Good. Yes? Should he get the green light? Yes, particularly when he’s open, which is the only time he shoots them. And particularly when you consider that establishing the willingness to shoot the three-pointer will draw defenses out, and he can then drive to the hoop more effectively.

        1. I realize this, but I hardly believe starting out the game Seth was looking for DFS to take 3s. He is going to be a great all around player, but to see him be the guy taking two shots from beyond the arc that did not come close did not help establish a rhythm early on and quick starts are something that VT have been struggling with all year.

          Look, I am not trying to be the classic pessimist here. I love the fight and resolve to win last night, although, the last 3 minutes were a collective deep breath moment, as always.

          Yeah, 6’8, one of the tallest on the team. He takes his body away from the paint when taking the shots and leaves Raines alone to rebound. Step in, take a 10-12 footer.

          I have watched every game and cheer hard. These points were not made to be bitter, but just observations.

          1. Except DFS is barely 200lbs. Raines, Davila, both 230+. Even CJ carries more weight to body – up. DFS played a god game. He has developed nicely and will be a pleasant surprise next year.

          2. Agree with nubinile here. Barely 200 lbs. He doesn’t have the body to be successful getting inside and pushing people around….yet.

            As far as VT starting bad……this has not been our problem at all. We have had numerous leads against great teams (see Syracuse) Our problem has been in the second half and finishing games. We are getting better at this even in spite of the attrition problems.

        2. Thanks you, Will. Don’t you just hate it when posters make rash, off the wall posts which lack in thought process and seriously lack factual information??

    2. Glad you got all the flaws of this team. There are good spots also. We play so much better when ZO is on. Our rebounding was much better also. Focus on what you must…

    3. 1) What are you going to say to a freshman? “I don’t want you to shoot the three no matter how open you are.” Great way to kill his cofidence or prevent him from learning through his mistakes.
      2) Bball is full of streaks. We still outscored Clemson by 10 in the 2nd half. I’m sure we were a little gassed considering we had 7 players trying to get the team to the finish line. Gtown dropped a 9 pt lead to Cinci in the last 10 minutes. Scoreless streaks happen all the time.
      3) I have noticed this too. But I think it is more about the field players not moving to space quickly enough. The other thing I noticed is our preference to pass-in to the corner where the guy gets immedialely double teamed. Not sure why this all happens, but agree with you here; it does seem to be difficult for us to get the ball in and down court under press.
      4) RB is young; heck the team is very young. They have been doing pretty well from my vantage point and will be great in the years to come.

      Enjoy the win! On to Duke. Looking vulnerable and lost a biggie = sounds like upset to me.

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