Another Game, Another Heartbreaker

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Another day, another close loss.  Virginia Tech had the ball for the final shot, but failed to take advantage in a 58-56 loss at Clemson on Thursday night.  The Hokies dropped to 15-15 on the season, with a 4-11 mark in ACC play.  Clemson improved to 16-13, with an 8-7 record in league play.

Trailing by two on their final possession, the Hokies called a timeout to set up a final play.  Erick Green drove to the basket from the right wing and had a decent look, but he spotted Cadarian Raines driving down the lane.  Green hit Raines with the pass, the shot was blocked, but Raines was fouled by Milton Jennings, sending him to the free throw line.

Raines, who had another terrific game with 12 points and 8 rebounds, is only a 55% free throw shooter for the season.  He missed the first shot, and after a timeout by Clemson, he missed the second attempt intentionally to try to give his teammates a chance for an offensive rebound tip-in.  Clemson senior Tanner Smith, playing his last collegiate home game, came up with the rebound and ran out the clock.

Jarell Eddie led Tech with 15 points, while Dorenzo Hudson added 11 points and five rebounds.  However, Erick Green finished with just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting.  He didn’t get to the free throw line the entire game, and neither did Dorenzo Hudson.  With the absence of their two most consistent free throw shooters from the charity stripe, the Hokies couldn’t manufacture enough points to win.

The loss spoiled an 8-of-16 effor from three-point range for Tech.  Coming into the game, the Hokies were #2 in the ACC in three-point shooting in conference games, and they did nothing but improve that stat against the Tigers.

However, once Clemson aggressively extended their defense past the three-point line, and with Erick Green having an off night, the Hokies didn’t have enough players who could beat defenders off the dribble and manufacture points.  The Tigers were more successful at getting the ball inside, going to the free throw line 25 times, while Tech attempted just 11 free throws.

Overall, it’s not too surprising that Clemson beat the Hokies at home on their senior night, with four seniors and two juniors facing four freshmen and two sophomores.  Tech senior forward Victor Davila missed yet another game with a groin injury, and the Hokies’ interior defense continued to struggle with him out of the lineup.

The Hokies will have a chance to end the regular season on a high note.  They host NC State on Sunday night at 6pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

Box Score

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21 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I’m surprised no one is comparing this team’s close losses to the 2005-2006 team. If I recall correctly, that team also experienced a lot of losses that came down to the wire, but they could not finish. In fact, 11 games that season we lost by 5 points or less.We finished the season 14-16 and 4-12 in the ACC.

    I remember reading an article somewhere before the start of the 2006-2007 season that took a look at teams that had a lot of close losses and used that information to predict a strong season. The author came to the conclusion that the 06/07 team would rebound strongly based solely on the fact that if the 05/06 team had closed a few of those games better, they would have had a record that supported their skill. The 06/07 team ended up going 22-12 and making the NCAA tournament.

    I think it is fair to say that next year, this team will be battle hardened, more mature, and ready to make some noise in the ACC.

  2. It’s just so gut-wrenching to watch the second-half collapses. Scoring droughts resulting from bad and rushed shots, no penetration, and turnovers (really bad turnovers).

    I think it has a lot to do with youth, but it’s coaching too, and the upperclassmen Green and Hudson played a big part.

  3. I’m tired of hearing about all the could-a, should-a and would-a about this team. They are what they are-young! What kind of record would the football team have if they had to play with all Fr. & Soph.? Even coach K limits Fr. to a minimum of playing time, knowing they need time to develop. Let’s cut the guys and SG some slack and look at the GOOD. That highly regarded recuitment class of last year appears to be the real deal. If they can be “this close” in so many games this year, then they are dangerous. I think we may be witnessing a “Sleeping Giant” who could really mess-up ACC tournament expectations. Just maybe! If not this year, then the next.

    1. In my opinion, the issue isn’t with the freshmen. It’s the sophomore (Eddie), the junior (Green) and the senior (Hudson). You expect bone headed mistakes and inconsistency from the freshmen. You don’t expect Green to go into a shell and not force the issue when the defense gets up in his face. You don’t expect Eddie and Hudson to repeatedly give the ball away and have it lead directly to Clemson fast break points. I think this freshman class has a very bright future and the team should definitely be improved next year. However, to simply blame the close losses and struggles on youth is an excuse.

  4. phlegmbots ignored, if Coach K had this team, they might be 18-12 instead of 15-15. Ignorance (willfully being uninformed) of fundamental basketball aside, there needs to be a commitment to excellence from the players themselves. Periods of 5-15 minutes per game where everyone stands around in a fog cannot be erased by Greenberg burning all of his TO’s just to figuratively slap people upside the head – as opposed to another familiar coach doing it literally – to get them to WAKE UP!

    The one thing I know is that I couldn’t exhibit the patience Seth has with this squad. I’d have them running suicides until their tongues dragged the floor. And after a full hour of that, then we’d get serious.

    1. Do you mean the same coach who’s team was on the wrong end of a 19-1 run against Wake the other night?

  5. Watch the good teams. They minimize their mistakes. If K coaches the Hokies they would become a contender. Talent + Coaching = Wins in close games.

  6. Mr. Coleman –

    Momma Says – SHAME ON YOU FOR WAFFLING! (Mamma doesn’t normally use this type of language, but this season is frustrating and you set yourself up for this one…) You said the Hokies needed to defeat Clemson to prove they are really improving, and not just playing to the level of their competition. Now you say it was no surprise that Clemson would win at home on senior night – so, which is it? Well, they lost a close, tough, game at Clemson and we know three things from it. Cadarian Raines is improving and stepping up. He works well with Dorian Finney-Smith under the basket. We know in the first half of the Clemson game, Tech got zero points on fast breaks and Clemson had nine. Six turnovers resulted in points for Clemson. Your readers, and Mr. Stewart, are right, they need to learn how to use the bounce pass and Mr. Eddie needs soft hands. We also know from recent games, that Tech can’t hold a lead when they get it. A coach needs to be aware of momentum changes and stop the other team from coming back by calling a time-out, and changing his defense/offense, or both to counter the comeback. He has to counter their move, ANSWER! Momma watches every game and she doesn’t see any of this happening. Momma will be glad to share some ways to counter if you ask her.
    Last week Momma tried to tell you we gotta let the horses run loose on the fast break. With Mr. Raines trailing to clean-up the boards. WE ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION BUT YOU DIDN’T ANSWER. Well sir, now is the time for you to answer the mail. Momma is calling you out. I appreciate your insights but Momma is tired of seeing her Hokies lose the close games. She is encouraged for next year and knows Coach Greenberg will have his team ready. We need those four (or more) extra wins every season. We would like to have eight more wins and compete at the top of the ACC. Oh by the way, Coach Greenberg’s comment that missed free-throws toward the end of the game, are “just part of the game”, is pure horse-pooey! (I cleaned that up, Momma used some more colorful language that I didn’t repeat and she hardly ever says those words)… Good teams that win over 20 games a season don’t miss those free-throws. No excuse for poor free-throw shooting in clutch situations. Every day, you shouldn’t let the players leave practice until they can hit 8 of 10 free throws.

    WE WOULD LIKE YOUR COMMENTS ON HOW TECH CAN REACH THE TOP (TWO) OF THE ACC. We have a beautiful new practice facility, is that not enough? What else does Tech need to add or change in your eyes. Is this new practice facility not enough to get top recruits? Please share, and god bless Hokie Nation, he knows we are good people.

    Respectfully, Slim

  7. Ironically, these close losses are just the fuel Seth will need to motivate these guys. As Chris pointed out in earlier articles this team maybe came in too highly recruited and high on themselves.

    Hopefully this is just an anomaly and a year that we can point to as an important one to get these guys on track.

    Clemson is our daddy, btw.

    Well, hopefully…

    1. Meant the “well, hopefully” line in reference to this year helping this team moving forward.

    2. Based on the past 9 years, I wouldn’t count on anything changing. Lack of leadership and discipline, poor fundamentals, and close losses are the trademarks of VT’s culture under Seth – no matter how experienced the players.

  8. I have never seen a team as snake bit . If we would have won just half of the close ones we would have 20 + wins

    1. The silver lining is that we are doing all of this with a very young team and without our most experienced post player and best post defender in the lineup.

      The team’s biggest weakness continues to be too much passivity on offense and an inability to beat defenders off the dribble when pressed out on the perimeter. If I were Seth Greenberg, this is what I would have the entire team working on religiously over the off-season.

    2. This team isn’t snake bit. They just aren’t very good. Look back at the two games that they won at the buzzer. Both ended up being scrambles instead of well executed plays to get good looks. They were very fortunate to win either of the games they did.

      Last night how many steals, and the resulting fast break points, were the result of laziness or boneheaded plays? When you don’t have a large margin for error those types of plays tend to be the difference between winning and losing. Unfortunately, you still have a lot of players on the court that have a low basketball IQ.

      It’s not about bad luck. It’s about bad execution, especially on the offensive side of the court.

    3. As VT is 4-10 in close games (i.e., games with a score margin of 4 pts or less, or OT), the hokies would be 18-12 (6-9/7-8 in ACC) if they won half of those. Likely an NIT team, but not yet ready for NCAA prime time. We can only hope that these close losses will translate to more wins next season. I recall that Foster’s first few years of the Good-Watlington-Smith-Custis-Jackson(s) class suffered numerous heartbreaking losses. Those kids matured and were strong during times of adversity by their Jr years.

  9. Are the Hokies #2 in the ACC in 3-pointers % AND still #1 (or near the top, even after the last few games) in ACC free throw shooting % and #1 in free throw shooting defense…as well as one of the better ACC defenses in general?

    Raines is really getting a headstart on next year, with all the minutes he’s put in relief of Davila. I like where he’s taking his game and feel like his ceiling is pretty high. That ball-fake up and under bank shot he’s doing down low is money. If some of the freshmen can have as big a leap development-wise as Green enjoyed from his first to second years, you have to like what this team can do next year. I know the “wait ’til next year” mantra is wearing a little stale for a lot of Hokie fans, but I really enjoy this team. Finney-Smith has a high ceiling and he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. I could see Brown growing a la Eddie from his freshman to sophomore years. Eddie could continue to blossom.

    I know all these close losses are killers, but the team is hopefully learning what it takes to win and can apply that knowledge next year. I’m strangely not disappointed in this team this season. I wish the season were better but every fan wants to win every game. (I have a co-worker that is a Duke fan and he’s not excited about this year’s Duke team and they only have 4 losses so far!) I really think this season could shape up to be like the 2005-2006. The Hokies had 11 or so close losses that year in the regular season and wound up 4-12 in the conference for the year. They really had a strong season the next year.

    Go Hokies. Go Seth. Go incoming freshmen. Go fans. Go away injuries and bad luck. Go team!

    1. I like the way this team is progressing. The losses are hard but our team is young.

      The only real negative I saw last night is Browns poor ball handling and Eddie’s poor passing. We had many unforced turnovers and they all resulted in Clemson points. This should be an easy fix as these two guys mature.

      1. This team in general needs to get “strong” with the ball. For a point guard, Rankin is still a little lazy with passes here and there. He makes up for it with some spectacular looks, so if he can eliminate the bad stuff, he’ll be a plus.

        Jarell Eddie’s five turnovers is just way too many. Can’t dress that up. He’s a smooth player, good shooter, and solid rebounder, but he needs to step up the rest of his game and become a more complete player.

        Anyway, back to the turnovers. 14 isn’t a ridiculous number, except many of them were just sloppiness. These guys will get better at it. As I’ve said in other board posts and articles, a simple year of maturation should get these guys back to .500 in the ACC next year, maybe better, depending upon schedule.

        They continue to be plagued by a lack of leadership and scoring from Davila and Hudson, both of whom have been playing hurt all year. I applaud them gutting it out, but the nagging injuries (knee for Hudson, groin for Davila) have limited their production.

        1. Similar to Eddie’s, the turnovers from Hudson last night were huge. In both cases, most, if not all, lead to Clemson points. I really like Eddie’s skills as a shooter but he also seems to make a lot of careless mistakes.

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