Turnovers and poor free throw shooting cost Virginia Tech a chance to beat UNLV on Sunday night. The Hokies lost 71-59 in what was a very competitive game up until the end. UNLV improved to 6-0 on the season with the win, while Tech dropped to 4-2.
Tech lost the game, despite Malcom Delaney playing one of the best shooting games of his career. The senior guard had 30 points, and was 7-of-9 from three-point range. He also had four assists and two steals. However, Delaney uncharacteristically missed three free throws, which turned out to be a team wide problem. The Hokies were just 9-of-21 from the charity stripe.
Virginia Tech also didn’t get any production from Dorenzo Hudson. The senior wing was 0-of-7 from the field, scored no points, and had five turnovers in 36 minutes. It was arguably the worst game of his career.
Terrell Bell had a strong game, with 12 points and seven rebounds, and he knocked down both of his three point attempts. However, Jeff Allen finished with only nine points and five rebounds. He fouled out in the second half, and all three of his second half fouls could have easily gone the other way. He was whistled twice for charging, and made a layup on both attempts. Both plays were very close to being three-point plays for the Hokies.
With Erick Green, Allan Chaney and J.T. Thompson out, and Cadarian Raines barely able to play, bench production is a major issue for the Hokies. Tech’s bench scored just three points against UNLV, all by true freshman point guard Tyrone Garland. In Friday’s win over Oklahoma State, Garland scored all six of Tech’s bench points.
Virginia Tech jumped out to an early 10-2 lead behind Terrell Bell, who scored Tech’s first five points of the game. The Hokies played mostly 2-3 and 1-3-1 zones throughout the course of this game in an effort to keep Jeff Allen out of foul trouble, and UNLV missed most of their jump shots early in the game.
However, the Rebels are a very well-coached team against the zone, and they were able to get dribble penetration and run their offense without much of a problem. They took their first lead at 18-16, and never relinquished it. UNLV took a 37-30 lead into halftime.
The second half was competitive thanks to the efforts of Malcolm Delaney. Time and time again he was able to knock down a big three-pointer to keep his team in the game. However, with the struggles from the free throw line, Jeff Allen getting in foul trouble and no production from Dorenzo Hudson, the Hokies were fighting an uphill battle.
At the 6:41 mark, Delaney hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 57-52. However, Jeff Allen fouled out 41 seconds later on a charging call, and it was all downhill from there. Tech’s last gasp came on a steal by Victor Davila and a breakaway layup by Terrell Bell to make the score 62-56, but Allen’s presence was greatly missed down the stretch and UNLV gradually pulled away.
Tech returns to action on Wednesday night when they host Purdue in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN.