Hokies Beaten Late At Home By The Stormin’ Mormons

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Men's Basketball

The Hokies started off tonight as bad as they have played all season against the Brigham Young Cougars Stormin’ Mormons.  After 10 minutes of play in the first half, the Hokies had a total of 3 points.  The problem?  Starting off 0-15 shooting from the field typically isn’t good.  Once the Hokies started making some shots though, they started making big shots.  In fact, the Hokies shot 64% in the 2nd half of tonight’s game after shooting less than 30% in the first half.

The biggest problem that plagued Virginia Tech tonight is the same problem that has plagued them all season – finishing.

After being down most of the game, the Hokies battled back and managed to get a 6 point lead about halfway through the second half.  In Virginia Tech fashion though, the Hokies proceeded to let BYU go on a 10-0 run and take a 4 point lead.  It was back and forth from then on out.  Virginia Tech and BYU traded baskets and individually were tied up 66 apiece with 48 seconds left in the game.

It was at that point that I began to think that the Hokies actually had a decent chance to win the game.  It was promptly after I began thinking those thoughts when BYU’s Brock Zylstra hit a huge three-pointer to put BYU up 69-66.  That three-pointer was Zylstra’s first points of the game – with 26 seconds left.  Clutch.

After a costly turnover by Dorenzo Hudson and a foul to try and save time, BYU only made 1-2 free throws.  Off the miss of the second free-throw, Erick Green drove coast to coast and made an easy layup.  After a timeout by the Hokies, BYU attempted to inbound the ball, but it was deflected and ruled out on BYU.  Hokie ball.

And then Virginia Tech pulled a Virginia Tech and failed miserably on their last offensive possession.  After inbounding the ball past halfcourt and getting it almost stolen, Erick Green tried to drive to the hoop.  Naturally, it got blocked but the Hokies recovered.  This resulted in some frantic passing until Robert Brown chucked up a three-pointer with 2 seconds left.  He missed and the Hokies lost 70-68.

Turnovers killed the Hokies tonight, plain and simple.  Tech turned the ball over 15 times; that’s one more turnover than Tech had assists.  Robert Brown, Jarell Eddie and Dorenzo Hudson each turned the ball over 3 times.  BYU had 23 points off Virginia Tech turnovers. That stat alone could explain the Hokies’ loss tonight, but there’s one more big aspect that I feel needs touching upon…again.

I hate harping on this over and over and, more specifically, I hate pointing fingers at one player, but Dorian Finney-Smith has been a total non-factor lately.  In 18 minutes tonight, Doe-Doe went 0-8 from the field and finished the 0 points.  Finney-Smith  only grabbed 4 rebounds, had 1 assist and stole 1 ball.  Doe-Doe managed to pick up 4 fouls in his time on the court too.  This is the second straight game that Doe has picked up a lot of fouls in few minutes.  Moreover, his lack of offensive production is proving to be very detrimental to this team.  The best representation of Doe’s entire season happened tonight too.  Finney-Smith went up for what would have been a SportsCenter Top-10 worthy dunk but left his feet a bit too early and short armed the dunk.  The ball proceeded to rim off and BYU pulled down the rebound.

I don’t know what Finney-Smith needs to do to get better, because if I did, I would probably be making a pretty good salary right now as a coach for the team.  I know Finney-Smith leads the Hokies in rebounds and has one of the higher rebounding totals in the ACC, but I think it’s time to take him out of the starting lineup.  Now might be the time to experiment with a 3 guard lineup by bringing Hudson back off the bench.  This change is less than ideal but Finney-Smith is proving to be a drain on this team in general.  He isn’t scoring and he’s racking up fouls which leads to other teams scoring points.  What he’s doing just isn’t working right now and something has to change.

Outside of all of that, this team just simply needs to execute better.  They need to keep fighting down low for rebounds and they need to watch the turnovers.  Excluding UNC and Syracuse, the Hokies have 6 losses by a combined 20 points.  Of those 6 losses, 4 were by 3 points or less.  The Hokies are close, but close doesn’t count in basketball.  Tech has to close these games out; and until they learn how to close, they will continue to lose these close games.

Tech sits now at 12-8 on the season.  The Hokies play at Maryland this Saturday at 2:30 PM.

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