Slow Start Sinks Hokies Against Terps

Posted: January 28, 2012 in Men's Basketball

How many times have you heard this story before: the Hokies start slow but manage to battle back in the second half to make it a competitive game.  Tech loses by less than 4 points and then gets credited for their heart and determination in a loss.  Hokie fans are then left to wonder what could have been had Tech been able to make a shot in the first half.

And yes, I’m exactly describing today’s game against Maryland in that first paragraph.

To put it in perspective, the Hokies had 5 field goals in the last 35 seconds of the second half; Tech made 6 field goals in the ENTIRE first half.  This is Virginia Tech basketball.

The final score was 73-69.  The score at halftime was 32-19.  After some quick math (69-19), I deduce the Hokies scored 50, I repeat, 50 points in the second half!

It’s baffling how polarizing this team is.  In the first 20 minutes today it was like watching a JV team play the varsity squad in high school.  In the second half it was like I was watching ACC basketball.  Oh wait…

All negativity aside, props to Seth Greenberg for benching Dorian Finney-Smith to start the game.  He’s clearly hit the freshman plateau and he was hurting the team.  In his place was Cadarian Raines, who didn’t quite have a great game today.  One of the biggest problems in the first half for the Hokies was a lack of rhythm.  Tech tried to work inside out on offense which is something they haven’t been able to do all season.  Tech looked lost and so did Cadarian; it just didn’t gel.

Once Tech started hitting shots in the second half though, this was a new ballgame.  Erick Green was playing smart for the most part, the turnovers were limited and Victor Davila played a hell of a half (10 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block).  The problem is that once Tech started hitting shots, so did Maryland; more specifically, Terrell Stoglin started hitting shots.  Stoglin finished with a game high 28 points, 21 of which were in the second half.  Every time Tech pulled the game within 5 or 6 points, Stoglin was there to hit a huge shot and take the wind out of the sails.

These games sting; they hurt to lose so damn much.  This is not only Tech’s 6th loss in the last 7 games, but every game outside of the UNC whooping have been within 4 points.  This team is so close but it always seems like a big mistake or a slow start hold them back.  I actually feel bad for Greenberg on days like today.  It’s not his fault the players can’t hit shots; it’s not his fault that Dorian Finney-Smith can’t buy a basket; it’s not his fault that Robert Brown fouls Maryland shooters late in the game with no time left on the shot clock for 3 free-throws; these aren’t things he can control. Either way, he’s going to feel the heat from this streak that the Hokies find themselves in.

While Seth is experimenting with the lineup, he might as well try some different things.  TeaBagPaulus919 on Twitter has a suggestion:

Want to see this lineup next game: Rankin, PG; Green, SG; Brown, SF; Eddie, PF; Davila, C.

What else does Greenberg have to lose?

Tech falls to 12-9 on the season and 1-5 in ACC play.  Next up: The Dookies on Feb 2 at Cassell.


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