Virginia Tech was blown out 88-63 by #17 West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies dropped to 8-5 with the loss, while the Mountaineers improved to 11-1.
West Virginia came into the game ranked #1 in the country in both offensive rebounding rate and forced turnovers per possession. They had their way with the Hokies in both categories. WVU grabbed 18 offensive rebounds and converted them into 16 second chance points. They also forced 22 turnovers and turned them into 26 points. Tech scored seven second chance points and 17 points off turnovers, for a difference in 18 points between the two categories. That doesn’t quite make up the final margin, but it was close.
The final box score shows that West Virginia attempted 61 field goals to Virginia Tech’s 38, mostly because of their advantage on the offensive glass and in the turnover margin (+5). That’s the quickest way to lose a basketball game.
“You’re going to turn the ball over,” Buzz Williams said. “When you get to over 20 turnovers, that’s a lot. And when they have almost 20 offensive rebounds, man, that’s a lot. You know that they are going to get a lot of offensive rebounds and you know they are going to force a lot of turnovers, but mathematically, we didn’t do either of those well enough to make it a game.”
This game was close for most of the first half. It was 23-21 WVU after a dunk by Satchel Pierce at the 9:05 mark. After a big Mountaineer run put them up 36-23, the Hokies still fought back to make the score 41-36 with just a minute remaining. However, WVU closed the half on a 5-0 run to take a 46-36 lead into halftime.
The ‘Eers weren’t done. They opened the final 20 minutes on a 15-3 run to go up 61-39, and at that point the game was essentially over. Overall, it was a 20-3 run that spanned the final minute of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
The little-used Shane Henry paced Tech with 12 points. Kerry Blackshear started the game, but picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game. He started the second half, but was pulled after just one minute and never returned to the game.
Overall, Zach LeDay was Tech’s most productive player. He had 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 33 minutes. Justin Bibbs had just five points and attempted only four shots. Satchel Pierce played 13 minutes, and had just four points and no rebounds.
Buzz Williams was clearly upset after the game. He kept the team in the locker room for an hour and 45 minutes before showing up to his media obligations. He also did not appear on Tech’s postgame radio show.
When asked why he kept the team in the locker room for so long after the game, he avoided the question by praising the effort of his team and staff.
“Just thanked them for playing real hard, for their effort,” Williams said. “Thanked the staff for their diligence and their prework. I thought they were beautiful people.”
Virginia Tech opens ACC play this Saturday when they host NC State. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm, and the game can be seen on RSN. Check your local listings.