Hokies Lose Heartbreaker To ‘Hoos At Home

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Men's Basketball
Tags: , , , , , ,

Virginia Tech got a much needed 59-58 win over the ‘Hoos today in Cassell Coliseum.

Oh wait, no they didn’t.  The replay officials, of lack thereof I should say, dictated otherwise.  More on that in a minute…

The actual score, as it read on the scoreboard with the clock hitting 0:00, was 61-59 – UVA the victor.

The game was close, as have been the Hokies’ last four games.  Tech’s last four games have been decided by a total of five points.  The Hokies have gone 2-2 during that stretch.

Tonight’s game was expected to be a close one.  Given the fact that Tech had the home-court advantage and UVA’s style of ball allows for close games, the final score shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody.  UVA likes to play at a snails pace and they do a damn good job at keeping their opponents at that same pace.

Low scoring games lead to tight finishes usually, but UVA has thrived off of that this year.  Tonight was no different.

From the get-go, the game was much more crisp and, well, offensive than I think most people expected.  Tech came out hitting 3-pointers and UVA was shooting around 67% in the first half.  It was a very entertaining half of basketball, surprisingly so actually.

Erick Green was pretty much a non-factor in the first half of play scoring only two points and sitting for the latter half of the first after getting two quick fouls.  Mike Scott was THE factor for UVA in the first half scoring 15 of UVA’s 32 points.  The kid is a beast…and he kind of looks like a murderer.  Not gonna lie, seeing him in person for the first time, he’s a scary dude.

Tech held a halftime lead of 35-32.  And then the second half happened…

At the start of the second half, Tech got out to a quick lead and seemed to have UVA on the ropes.  A great halftime adjustment by Greenberg, perhaps?  It seemed that way.  Tech held a 47-39 lead with 14:53 left in the second half.

Then the Hokies decided to go to their most inefficient offensive gameplan: pass the ball deep around the perimeter and take bad 3-point shots.  Meanwhile, UVA started making 3-pointers and getting good looks at lay-ups and the next thing you know, the ‘Hoos are on a 17-2 run.  Tech was trailing 56-49 just like that.

It’s extremely frustrating to watch Virginia Tech basketball when the offense gets lazy in their sets.  It’s a mystery why this seems to happen at least once every game.  There always seems to be a stretch in every game where Tech’s offense stagnates and they just throw up 3-pointers like they can’t move the ball inside the 3-point line.  It’s truly baffling.

And then came the 3-pointer that happened but shouldn’t have.  With 3:07 left in the game, Jontel Evans banked in a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.  Or did he?  Being at the game I was unable to tell if the ball was still in Evans’ hand, but I just assumed that three court officials and a replay staff with ESPN present wouldn’t miss the call.

It was at that time when my phone started blowing up with texts telling me that after replaying the shot on ESPN multiple times that the ball was still in his hand.  The officials never went back to review the shot.  Simple subtraction states that 61-3=58.  Fifty-eight is less than 59.  Theoretically, had that call been reviewed and reversed, the Hokies would have won the game.

Some of you might be wondering if the officials can go back after the fact and reverse the shot.  Well, as much as I would love for that to be possible, NCAA rules state that’s not how it works.

From the NCAA rulebook:

“The officials may also check if the shot was made before the expiration of the shot clock, but only when such a situation occurs at the end of a half or an overtime period. Such rules have also required the NCAA to write new rules stating that, when looking at instant replay video, the zeros on the clock, not the horn or red light, now determine the end of the game.”

Even if the Hokies get an apology from the ACC officiating crew, it won’t make a bit of difference.

Even with that blown call, Virginia Tech had a chance to clinch the game late down the stretch.  Just like the loss against Florida State, free-throw shooting killed the Hokies.

In the last two minutes of the game, the Hokies missed three free-throws which would have either tied the game, or given them the lead.  Tech missed six free-throws all game and half of them were in the last two minutes of the game when the score was in low single digits.

On the last possession of the game for Virginia Tech, a miscommunication on the play call led to Doe-Doe turning the ball over with about four seconds left in the game, solidifying UVA’s victory.  In that situation, you have to at least get a shot off.  UVA made sure that didn’t happen though, and props to them for it.

This is the story of Virginia Tech basketball though – close games and tough losses.  I’ll give this team some credit, they did fight hard tonight and definitely played with great intensity.  I still don’t see the leadership from the upperclassmen on this team though, and frankly we might just have to realize it won’t be there.

The Hokies are playing solely for a bid in the NIT at this point in the season, contrary to what Greenberg will say to the media. Virginia Tech fell to 15-13 on the season and 4-9 in ACC play.

Up next for the Hokies: No. 4 Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium at noon this Saturday.

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