Virginia Tech couldn’t hold on to a 14-point first half lead, eventually falling 77-73 to Seton Hall in their last game of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off on Sunday night. The loss makes the Hokies 3-2 on the year, and they’ll return home on Wednesday night to take on Elon.
The Hokies got great production from their usual three players: Malcolm Delaney, A.D. Vassallo and Jeff Allen. Delaney led the team with 25 points, and he also added five rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes of action. A.D. Vassallo scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 38 minutes.
Jeff Allen finished with 17 points and 17 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games. However, Allen missed out on a huge game by having a bad night from the free throw line. He was just 5-of-15 from the charity stripe. The Hokies missed 13 free throws as a team, with Allen missing 10 of them.
Six other Hokies played in the game, and they combined to score just nine points. Dorenzo Hudson, Hank Thorns and Victor Davila did not score, and combined to go 0-of-6 from the field.
This game was a tale of two halves. The Hokies led by as many as 14 points in the first half. After an A.D. Vassallo layup with 7:20 left in the first half, Tech had a 31-17 lead. Seton Hall whittled away at the lead for the remainder of the half, but Tech still held a 40-34 advantage at halftime.
In the first half, Tech shot 48.1% from the field, while Seton Hall shot just 38.2%. In the second half, the Hokies were just 33.3% overall, while the Pirates shot 56.5% from the field.
It didn’t take long for Seton Hall to get back in the game in the second half. After a Malcolm Delaney 3-pointer made the score 45-38 Hokies, the Pirates went on a quick 9-0 run that gave them a 47-45 lead with 14:31 remaining.
The Hokies had one final run in them. After the Pirates took a 56-49 lead with 10:12 left in the game, Tech went on an 8-0 run. A jumper from Malcolm Delaney at the 8:47 mark made it 57-56 Hokies, but that was the last time VT led in the game. It was close until the final buzzer, but the Pirates managed to pull it out.
One of the reasons for Tech’s second half collapse was Jeff Allen’s free throw shooting. After going 4-of-6 from the charity stripe in the first half, Allen was just 1-of-9 from the line over the final 20 minutes. Fatigue could have been an issue. Allen played all but one minute of the game.
Following the first five games of the season, it’s clear that Tech desperately needs someone else to step up. Vassallo, Allen and Delaney are carrying the team right now. Victor Davila showed flashes against Mount St. Mary’s and Fairfield, but he has not scored in the last two games. Dorenzo Hudson scored 10 points against Xavier, but failed to score against Seton Hall.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Wednesday night against Elon. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm.