Surging Hokies Continue to Impress

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Confessions
of a webmaster: Throughout the Signing Day hysteria Wednesday, my heart raced and pounded, but it wasn’t because of the
ongoing recruiting drama, server crashes, and high levels of traffic on the site. It was because the Hokie men’s
basketball team was facing a critical road game at Miami. There, it’s heresy, but I said it: I was more hyped up over
basketball than recruiting.

While Hokie football fans’ stomachs churned at the decommitment of tight end John Hannah to the South Carolina
Gamecocks, my stomach churned at the thought of trying to contain the Hurricanes’ three-headed backcourt monster of
Guillermo Diaz, Robert Hite, and Anthony Harris.

For we old schoolers, who are loving the Hokie basketball renaissance, this game against Miami was as pivotal as it
gets. As Chris James wrote in his preview, "Win, and the Hokies will stay in the upper tier of the conference for a
couple more games; lose, and they’ll start to move towards the lower tier."

Halfway through the conference schedule, 5-3 is a world better than 4-4. 5-3 gets you sole possession of fourth
place, while 4-4 leaves you in a quagmire with too many teams to count.

Going into this one, the status of VT senior guard Carlos Dixon, who banged his elbow in a nasty spill at Duke, was
questionable. He was going to play, but how effectively? And in a game where guard depth was critical, backup Marquie
Cooke was also questionable for the game with back spasms.

So the Hokies did what they have done since the calendar rolled over into 2005: they won by committee. Zabian Dowdell
(career-high 23 points on 5-10 three-pointers), Carlos Dixon (17 points, team-high two steals, and Jamon Gordon (11
points on 5-6 shooting) all stepped up.

Not to be overlooked is the performance of skinny freshman forward Deron Washington. Washington started the year out
with his feathers blazing, dunking all over Tech’s creampuff opening schedule. Then the opponents got tough, and
Washington, ever the athlete but not yet a good "basketball player," struggled.

But lately Washington has found his stride.

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