Virginia Tech hung around with #3 Kansas State, even leading at several points in the second half. However, interior foul trouble doomed the Hokies to a 73-57 loss to the Wildcats. Tech is 1-1 on the year, and Kansas State improves to 2-0.
Despite what color commentator Bobby Knight said several times during the game, Virginia Tech does not have “good post depth”. They only have two post players right now, Jeff Allen and Victor Davila. The other post players are sitting on the bench injured: Gene Swindle (career ending knee injury), J.T. Thompson (season ending knee injury), Allan Chaney (season ending heart condition) and Cadarian Raines (foot injury that has kept him out since the end of last season).
This was a tightly called game in Manhattan, with key players for both sides getting in foul trouble. Kansas State star guard Jacob Pullen missed most of the first half with three fouls. However, both Jeff Allen and Victor Davila spent much of the game in foul trouble. At times, the Hokies were playing Jarell Eddie (6-7, 209, Fr.) and Manny Atkins (6-7, 200, So.) as their two post players at the same time.
The lack of size on the inside forced the Hokies to play a 2-3 zone for approximately 25 minutes of the game. The zone worked well, until Kansas State started hitting their three-pointers in the second half to slowly pull away for a 73-57 win.
Kansas State is an excellent defensive team that plays a similar style of defense as the Duke Blue Devils. They extend their defense, put a lot of pressure on the basketball and they play the passing lanes very well. The Hokies had 17 turnovers, nine by Malcolm Delaney. Delaney kept the Hokies in the game by scoring 22 points in 39 minutes, but he struggled with his shooting percentage yet again, going just 6-of-18.
Dorenzo Hudson had 12 points for the Hokies, but three of them came in garbage time after the game was decided. Hudson has not regained his form from his junior season as of yet, after scoring just nine points against Campbell.
Jeff Allen got in foul trouble and finished with eight points and five rebounds. Freshman wing Jarell Eddie had eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Hokies, and he looks like he has the ability to develop into a fine player.
Terrell Bell played well defensively, finishing with three blocks, but he got in foul trouble and played just 23 minutes. He took just one shot and scored no points, after scoring 17 against Campbell on Friday night. If this game taught us anything, it’s that the Hokies can’t afford for their frontcourt to get in foul trouble. With Bell, Allen and Davila in foul trouble, Tech was totally outmanned on the inside with Thompson, Chaney and Raines missing the game.
Virginia Tech played good defense up until the very end. The Hokies are an excellent man-to-man team, but they were forced to play zone for much of this game. They held Kansas State to just 40.6% from the field and 30.4% from three-point range. The Hokies shot just 34.5% from the field. On the rare occasion that they got an open look, they missed the shot more times than not.
The Wildcats were able to use their superior size to outscore the Hokies in the paint 34-16. They were missing their best post player, Curtis Kelly, but they still had more than enough size on the inside to beat the undermanned Hokies.
The Hokies led by four points in this game with 14:05 remaining, but their lack of size on the inside, and the foul trouble on their only two post players doomed them to defeat against a very good Kansas State team.
The Hokies return to action on Sunday when they play UNC-Greensboro in the Greensboro Coliseum. Tip-off is scheduled for 1pm, and the game will be televised by CSN Washington and NESN.