Although basketball is a game of runs, this game is more emblematic of that dubbing than any game in recent memory...at least my recent memory. The Hokies looked absolutely dominant at some times. But they also fell victim to periods where the wheels came off and caught our wagon on fire, triggering an inferno that trapped our offense inside and we weren't able to get out for several minutes each time. It wasn't pretty, it was UGLY! WVU, Susan Boyle, Coyote Ugly! But it was a win.
The Hokies started the game off at a torrid pace, leading 11-3 with a basket right out of the first media timeout. The Hokies then proceeded to turn the ball over on 6 of their next 10 possessions, scoring 6 points over that stretch only because of offensive rebounding and foul shooting. That lull let Oklahoma State tie the game at 17 with just over eight minutes left in the first half. It also confirmed to whoever was watching that Virginia Tech don't have any players who have ever played basketball before.
The Hokies closed the half again on an 11-3 run before a 3-point prayer fadeaway, buzzer-beater from 30 feet that only Virginia Tech opponents manage to hit (which I will count towards their next run, no worries, I didn't forget). 5'9" wiggle-worm Keaton Page hit the shot over the hands of an outstretched, taller Virginia Tech defender, so no fault to the Hokies here. It was just luck (but just like Les Miles ability to win gambles, when luck keeps happening, how much longer can we call it luck?). The Hokies lead 28-23 at the half.
Counting that shot at the buzzer in the first half, the Cowboys went on an 13-2 run to open the second half. Then after Erick Green hit a 3-pointer, his ONLY make in five attempts (HE IS STRUGGLING! STOP FORCING IT!), the Pokes went on an 11-4 run to lead 44-37 with twelve and some change left in the second half. True to the script, the Hokies scored the games next 8 points to jump out to a 45-44 lead that they held for literally seconds until waterbug Keiton Page nailed another 3-pointer (he had five). Tech came into the game #1 nationally in 3 pt. defense. This was by far their worst outing in that department, allowing eight makes.
Again, Tech went on a 11-0 run to lead 56-47. But almost like clockwork, the Cowboys went on a 14-5 run to knot it at 61 with two minutes remaining. The Hokies really looked like crap during this stretch, with their poor clock management, poor awareness and even poorer shot selection. But give credit also to the Okie State fans for making it tough late. They were loud, involved and I think it was a sell out. They were FULL! During break! And with their football team playing in a BCS Bowl in three days! That's amazing! Oh and they're 7-6. I wish we would draw like that.
Tech looked like they wanted to give this game away. It reminded me of 2007 on the road at Wake Forest, when we were up by 8 with just over a minute remaining when inexplicably A.D. Vassallo took a 3-pointer with about 30 seconds remaining on the shot clock. He missed and Wake took the long rebound and hit a three. Since Tech has deleted old box scores for basketball, I have to go on memory here. I know Wake hit another three, a two off of the dumbest inbound play in history (Deron Washington got the ball to inbound and the other 4 Tech players on the floor didn't realize the whistle had been blown to start the game again and decided to catch up with each other on how life was going, the weather and anything but basketball three-quarters of the court away and with their backs turned to the play). Then another waterbug, Ish Smith ran the floor after a Tech miss and put a two in to win with under a second left. I threw a chair. And yes, this game and our execution was so bad, it reminded me of that game.
Sorry for that flashback, but based on this one, I thought it was relevant. The Hokies hit six free throws to seal it as both offenses failed to score from the field in the last two minutes. So yeah, in a lot of ways this game was ugly. But, it's a win.
On a side note, Dorenzo Hudson led the Hokies in scoring with 18, surpassing the 1,000 point benchmark in the process. He now stands at 1,006. Erick Green, who was the only other Hokie in double digits, scored 16 with a sloppy 6-17 and 1-5 from deep game with 3 assists and 4 turnovers. The Hokies had 6 assists and 16 turnovers as a team (YOUCH...sloppy. Not a misprint). They also dominated the boards for the second time this year against Oklahoma St. with 47 rebounds to the Pokes 24, effectively doubling their rebounds, and tripling their offensive rebounds (18 to 6. WHO ARE THESE GUYS!?). Keiton Page led the Cowboys with 21 and hit five 3-pointers. He scored 11 in the teams' first meeting on two 3's, most of his points late.
With the win the Hokies move to 11-3 headed into conference play (with one non-conference game remaining in the middle of conference play against BYU). Two of their wins are against Okie State as the Hokies played them in the NIT Season Tip-Off by chance and had them scheduled for a home-and-away series beginning last year. Interesting tidbit that I saw this morning, the last time the Hokies played a non-conference opponent twice in season was the 1991-92 season against East Carolina. They went 1-1. Of course this time the Hokies earned the sweep.