Hokies fall to USC Upstate

Virginia Tech lost to USC Upstate 64-63 in the opening basketball game of the season on Saturday afternoon.  The Hokies are 0-1, and now must host West Virginia on Tuesday afternoon on ESPN.

The Hokies were without junior forward C.J. Barksdale , their best rebounder, who is suspended for the first three games because of a violation of team rules.  Junior point guard Marquis Rankin was on the bench in street clothes taking the game off for “personal reasons” after being beaten out for the starting job earlier this week by freshman Devin Wilson .

Jarell Eddie had 18 points and seven rebounds.  He scored 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting in the first half, but he finished the game just 6-of-21 from the field after going 1-of-9 over the final 20 minutes.  Cadarian Raines finished with a career-high 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting.  He scored all of his points in the second half.

Adam Smith , a dynamic scorer for UNC-Wilmington two years ago, had just seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.  Freshman point guard Devin Wilson had four points, three assists and three turnovers in his first career start.

Joey van Zegeren did what was expected of him, pulling down seven rebounds (including four offensive rebounds) off the bench, and he also finished with a career-high five blocks.  Will Johnston came off the bench to hit both of his three-point attempts, and finished with six points.  Freshman wing Ben Emelogu had six quick points in the first half, but missed most of the second half with foul trouble.

The Hokies held USC Upstate to just 37.5% shooting, but they forced only nine turnovers and shot just 9-of-18 from the free throw line, including a 5-of-13 mark in the second half.  They had plenty of chances to win the game, but their inexperience and lack of talent showed against a Spartan squad that returned five starters from a team that has gone a combined 37-30 over the last two seasons, including a postseason bid to the CIT.

Things won’t get any easier, as West Virginia and Bob Huggins come to town for a Tuesday afternoon game at 1pm.  The game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

Box Score (HokieSports.com)

9 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I’ve never even heard of USC Upstate. It sounds like a made up college for a video game or something.

  2. I put this loss squarely on Barksdale and Rankin. Selfish actions by those two resulted in this loss. While I agree with this game report the fact is that we struggled in guarding two of their guards who weren’t big but flat out shot the ball. Rankin would have been a major addition for his defense alone. While Joey’s stats were solid the fact that we were giving up considerable weight inside would have suggested that Barksdale would have been a welcome addition into the rotation.

    Not sure what is going on inside the lockerroom but if we are going to struggle I like the fact JJ is sending a message to the team. I hope they hear him and get it.

    Going forward I think Adam Smith will be better. Possibly suffering from first game nerves today considering that he sat out last year. Also Ben E getting into foul trouble hurt us on the defensive end. He would have given us a combo of defense with a better chance to score.

    Long year for sure but let’s see how the team develops. Improvement will be the goal and hopefully we surprise a few at home.

  3. Not going to judge an entire basketball season on a single game, but that’s not exactly a good start, is it? Is USC Upstate pretty good, or are we just that bad?

    Also not thrilled to already see a player suspended for a violation of team rules, and another one apparently sulking (?) since he was beaten out of his starting position.

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