Hokies falter down the stretch

Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, on January 16, 2014
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Another late run doomed the Hokies to another close home loss, as Virginia Tech fell to Clemson 56-49 on Wednesday night.  The Hokies are now 8-8 on the season, with a 1-3 mark in ACC play.  The Tigers are 12-4 overall and 3-1 in conference play.

Tech led this game 36-30 with 14:01 remaining following a Devin Wilson free throw.  However, Clemson went on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take a 40-36 lead, and the Hokies were unable to reclaim the lead.  Tech tied the game with 2:01 remaining on a big three-pointer from the corner by Ben Emelogu, but Clemson’s Adonis Filer answered with an and-one on the other end to give his team a three-point lead with just 1:24 left.

Two things cost the Hokies in this game: a lack of production from two of their top offensive players, and free throw shooting.

1: Jarell Eddie and Adam Smith combined for just five points on 2-of-11 shooting.  Clemson is #4 in the country in defensive efficiency, and they did a good job of bottling up a Tech offense that has struggled over the last seven games.

2: Free throw shooting.  The Hokies only got three players to the free throw line, and unfortunately two of them were Joey van Zegeren and Devin Wilson, arguably their two worst free throw shooters.  van Zegeren went 1-of-4, and his only make was banked in.  Wilson went 2-of-8.  Wilson started out the season 45-64 (70.3%) from the line, but has made just 4 of his last 16 over the last two games. As a team, the Hokies were 4-of-14 from the charity stripe.

Wilson, Tech’s freshman point guard, led the Hokies with 14 points.  He made both of his three-point shots (he has now hit 5 of his last 7 from behind the arc) and he was 5-of-11 from the field.  He did a great job of getting to the basket and drawing fouls against a tough Clemson defense, but unfortunately he could not convert at the free throw line.

Joey van Zegeren scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds.  Freshman wing Ben Emelogu added 11 points, six rebounds and three assists.  Christian Beyer had four points and seven rebounds off the bench. Cadarian Raines did not log a single minute of game time for the second game in a row.

Unfortunately, Eddie and Smith really struggled.

Eddie: 3 points, 2 rebounds, 1-of-6 from the field in 33 minutes
Smith: 2 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 2 turnovers, 1-of-5 from the field in 15 minutes

Smith is still battling a calf injury, which limited his minutes, but on the whole the Hokies need more from those two key players.  Jarell Eddie’s last five games look like this:

UNC Greensboro: 4 points, 1-of-12 from the field
Maryland Eastern Shore: 17 points, 5-of-11 from the field
Syracuse: 6 points, 2-of-9 from the field
Boston College: 10 points, 3-of-14 from the field
Clemson: 3 points, 1-of-6 from the field

Overall, that’s 12 of his last 52 (23.1%).

The Hokies return to action on Sunday when they travel to Notre Dame.  Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

hokiesports.com box score


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