It was the most popular question just before Monday night’s laugher against
North Carolina-Central: “Why are we playing this team?” The answer is
simple: Paul Debnam. Sure, Terrell Bell had a nasty fast break dunk, and Erick
Green shocked the masses with a one-step, left-handed windmill dunk over a 6-8
defender, but the real highlight of the night was the Paul Debnam show. The
senior walk-on scored five points on a three-pointer and a dunk, but Paul’s stat
sheet contributions tell less than half the story of what he brings.
First, the formalities: the real reason this game was played on January 18th,
after conference play had started for the Hokies, is that it was moved from its
original December date, because the opportunity to play Seton Hall in Cancun
arose. There was an off week between last Saturday’s game at FSU and this
Saturday’s game against Boston College, so bada-boom, bada-bing, NCCU was moved
to Monday, January 18th.
As to why the Hokies played this team at all, regardless of the date?
I don’t have an answer for that one. NCCU is a bad team. Sure, they have players
like everyone else, they practice like everyone else, and they want to win like
everyone else … they’re just bad. Shooting is their biggest problem; namely,
they can’t. NCCU got good looks — they just couldn’t hit them. At one point,
they were 5-of-34, and this was after making a couple shots close together. They
were either 3-of-30 or 3-of-31 at one point — that’s bad.
So what do you do with a game like this? Simple:
- Don’t get injured.
- Watch and see what Paul Debnam does.
The Hokies weren’t laser-sharp. They were facing an overmatched opponent, and
they knew it, and it took Tech a while to get things going. That’s fine, no
biggie. Tech held NCCU to eight first-half points and set a Cassell Coliseum
record by giving up just 30 points in a 72-30 win. Nobody
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