Virginia Tech Struggles in Second Half, Falls to Texas A&M in John Wooden Classic

Buzz Williams Virginia Tech
This picture isn’t from Virginia Tech’s loss to Texas A&M on Friday night, but Buzz Williams likely made this expression on multiple occasions on the second half.

Virginia Tech blew a 17-point lead on Friday night and lost in the semifinal of the DirecTV Wooden Legacy to Texas A&M 68-65.

The Hokies held a 53-36 lead early in the second half, but couldn’t close the door on Texas A&M. The much taller and longer Aggies owned the boards 49-30 and consistently scored inside. Virginia Tech relied on the outside shot and had success in the first half, but finished at just 37.9 percent from behind the arc.

Ahmed Hill led the Hokies offensively with six three-pointers for 18 points. Justin Robinson finished with 14 points and five assists. Seth Allen was the only other Tech player in double figures with 10 points. DJ Hogg came up big for Texas A&M in the second half, finishing with 17 points overall and 10 rebounds. Three other Aggies finished in double figures.

screenshot-55Virginia Tech came out firing offensively, taking loads of perimeter shots in order to break down the Texas A&M zone. The Hokies jumped out to a 17-9 lead with 12:19 remaining in the first half, in large part due to a rash of Aggie turnovers.

Tech’s hot shooting streak slowed later in the half, allowing Texas A&M to inch closer and closer. The Aggies went on a 7-0 run to cut the Hokies’ lead to 19-18 with 8:28 left in the half.

The two teams traded baskets as neither team could find a definitive advantage. Virginia Tech held up on the boards in the first half, despite Khadim Sy sitting on the bench for most of the latter part of the half with two fouls.

The Hokies extended their lead as the half closed. Justin Robinson scored the final six points for Virginia Tech in the first half, giving the Hokies a 38-25 lead at the break.

Texas A&M trailed 53-36 with 14:55 left in the second half, but controlled the game from there on out. The Aggies went on an 11-2 run to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 55-47 with 11:13 left. Texas A&M went on another 7-0 run to cut Tech’s lead to 57-54 with 8:13 left and kept it close until the two minute mark, when the Aggies took a 66-63 lead, their first lead of the game.

Zach LeDay cut the lead to one on the ensuing possession, but a Hogg jumper gave Texas A&M a 68-65 lead with 31 seconds left. Seth Allen missed his three-point attempt on the Hokies’ next try, allowing A&M to hold onto the win.

Virginia Tech is now 4-1 this season. Tech got a quality win vs. New Mexico on Thursday and nearly picked up another win vs. the Aggies. The Hokies will play either UCLA or Nebraska on Sunday, depending on the results of their game on Saturday.

— box score —



11 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Personally I thought the Hokies played a hell of a game against a bigger more talented team. Just ran out of gas a little and give the Aggies credit for playing up to their talent level in the second half. That pic heading the article needs to be trashed and Never used again—really poor choice.

  2. Look at the offensive rebounds. It is not about about A&M’s size. Watch people. They don’t even move to try and rebound offensively. There were times when people should have just naturally moved into rebounding position from where they were but stood still. We typically only had 1 person rebounding. That is a problem with an outside oriented team but often no one even moved.

  3. I know Allen is a senior but I feel much better with Justin running things is these last minute situations.

  4. Hopefully this will be a good learning experience. We are a small team and we are going to have to figure out how to finish against longer teams. No real harm in this loss if it enables us to steal one or two games in the ACC.

  5. Our defense went off a cliff in the 2nd half. I attribute that to the same 5-7 guys playing the entire game. It scares me a bit how easily Bibbs gets winded, by the way. In the end, our guys were gassed midway in the 2nd half from the strong attack in the first 30-ish minutes. Our guys got slow, and Texas A&M was able to attack at will because our “inside guys” watched the game instead of covering their man, so too many aggies were wide open for a basket. Not sure there was any one person to pin this on…it was a team loss, in my opinion, from Buzz all the way down to each player. Like others have stated below, I was disappointed with Buzz’s late game plan. Felt like he left way too much up to getting lucky with a perimeter shot instead of attacking and maximizing the time we had left. I am seeing more clearly now an Achilles heel in Buzz’s system with the talent we have…too much reliance on solid perimeter shooting and getting calls when driving and not enough on fundamentals of post defense, especially when we have to play a bigger team. But all that is exposed because of lack of size and reliable depth. We will see how that pans out come ACC season.

    Credit due to A&M for being patient and slamming on the gas when it mattered. Soul-crushing loss for the Hokies, for sure.

    Oh, by the way, did anyone feel like the refs turned the game over to the aggies when our lead started to inflate? Seems like LeDay got manhandled underneath the entire second half while the refs swallowed the whistle. Guess if you aren’t big enough, a foul can’t be called on your behalf? And I swear there were several times an aggie parked themselves in the lane, but apparently that is legal this year in the NCAA.

    Very frustrating…completely erased all enjoyment I got out of watching the Tarheels get beaten at home on senior day. Hopefully the football team will give me something to be happy about tomorrow!

    1. Biggest problem with this team is when Seth Allen is on the floor! As soon as he stepped on the court in the 2nd half we became a four man defensive team! He cannot keep anyone one in front of him and that led to easy 2nd chance points by their front line. We’ll be alright if Sy comes along like Blackshear did last year! The game is a little fast for him right now!

  6. Tech wasn’t hot shooting in the first half- they were hot attempting, but missing a lot of contested shots. The difference was that ATM was able to stop Hills 3s in the second half.

    Also, it seemed ATM was better at blocking out the easier layups in the 2nd half.

  7. Great effort, but not our coaches best game in my opinion. Needed some rebounding help and Sy completely disappeared in the 2nd half. Worse was the after timeout call with about 26 seconds in the game. We’re down 3 and ran off 20 seconds to heave up a prayer. That was hard to watch. Hopefully better results to come. Got some great talent on that floor. Go Hokies!

    1. I couldn’t understand that either BC it set us up with the ability to only shoot 2 at the end with less than 2 sec, down 3.

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