Virginia Tech’s men’s basketball team was very competitive through the first 10 games of ACC play, even in losses. That wasn’t the case on Saturday afternoon however, as the Hokies ran into a buzz saw in Chapel Hill, falling to the Tar Heels 92-53. The loss dropped Tech to 14-11 overall, and 5-6 in ACC play. UNC is now 24-2 overall, and 9-2 in the ACC.
It was obvious from the very beginning that the Hokies, who started three freshmen, weren’t ready for the intensity that Carolina brought to the court on Saturday. The Tar Heels led 6-0 before Virginia Tech had even attempted a shot.
Even when the Hokies did get a shot off, they weren’t going in. Tech was just 14-of-54 from the field for the game, a 25.9% mark. They were coming off a 54.9% shooting performance against Miami. Tech’s leading scorer, A.D. Vassallo, had just eight points. They all came in the first half. He was 3-of-13 from the field and 0-of-5 from three-point range.
Meanwhile, UNC had an excellent game shooting. The Tar Heels were 32-of-64 from the field and 6-of-14 from the outside. They were also 22-of-29 from the free throw line, good for 75.9%.
The Hokies had more turnovers (21) than field goals (14). Tech did most of their offensive damage from the free throw line, going 21-of-28. That’s mostly because Malcolm Delaney, easily Tech’s best free throw shooter, got to the line 11 times and hit nine of his attempts.
Delaney, a freshman guard from Baltimore, was Tech’s lone bright spot offensively. He scored 20 points, and was 4-of-10 from the field. Delaney was 3-of-6 from three-point range, flashing the long range jumper that he was known for coming out of high school. He also added four steals.
Fellow freshman guard Hank Thorns also had some decent numbers, scoring six points and dishing out six assists.
The freshmen on the inside on the other hand, did not play so well. Jeff Allen had just six points and seven rebounds, and committed six turnovers. He was just 2-of-8 from the field. J.T. Thompson had only four points and two rebounds, and was just 1-of-8 from the field.
The only impressive statistic from Tech’s frontcourt in this game was Cheick Diakite’s four blocks in 11 minutes of action. Even then, most of Tech’s seven blocks just created offensive rebound opportunities for UNC. The Tar Heels had 18 offensive boards during the game, and out-rebounded the Hokies 54-24.
Virginia Tech must rebound quickly, as they face Maryland at 9pm on Wednesday night in College Park. The Hokies won the first meeting 67-66 in Blacksburg when the Terps were without starting guard Eric Hayes. The game will be televised by Raycom. Check your local listings.