Despite a game that looked like two opposing groupings of cavemen learning to play basketball with a boulder (yeah, it took basketball back to the Neanderthal era), the Hokies pulled out a gritty 47-45 win over the hated 'Hoos in a sold out and raucous* (see bottom of story for key) John Paul Jones Arena Sunday night. For a quick recap and celebration after the jump, hit the button! JUST DO IT ALREADY!
The 'Hoos were ranked 15th in the nation coming into the game with a 15-2 (2-1) record, and the Hokies came in with a 11-7 (0-4) mark. My prediction in this game was that is wasn't going to be pretty. I previously said "If UVA doesn't run over us with a MAC truck they played the worst game of the year and we played our best." While the former was true, the latter...well, hey it was our biggest win. I'll give myself a pass there.
Certainly, offensively it wasn't our best game. But defensively, we stayed on our assignments, we rotated and closed out quickly, and last but certainly not least, UVA couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from deep. The 'Hoos finished 1-14 from the perimeter.
But the same couldn't be said about the free throw line, as UVA trotted to the line at an unconscionable TEN TIMES that of the Hokies, good for a 20-2 advantage in FT's before the final 2:12 of the game, at which point, as if oblivious to the disgraceful disparity, 'Hoo fans booed and whined incessantly for FT's #3 and 4 from Dorenzo Hudson the way they did when Zima went off the market. Often times home teams get an advantage from the men in zebra, but Sunday it was a decided one. Luckily, the Wahoos didn't drink Michael Jordan's Secret Stuff** and missed just enough FT's (hitting 14-22) to help negate the advantage the stripes laid at their feet.
Though the Hokies post defenders were quickly saddled with foul trouble in both halves, they played very good defense on UVA's star and ACC-elite PF Mike Scott, allowing him only 10 points, 6 boards and 3 turnovers in 36 minutes of action, well under both his averages.
The biggest two players for Tech were 'Zo Hudson and Erick Green. Green made an incredibly difficult contested 3 late and was one of only two players (he and Eddie) that could ever seem to pull us out of a slump. Hudson in his reprise role of coming off the bench was the workhorse late, hitting shots in the low post and a Drain-o, according to Dave Koehn (UVA's play-by-play guy) "Cold-blooded" 3-pointer that more or less sealed the game with under a minute to play.
So obviously, I underestimated the fight left in this group (knocking SO hard on wood right now). Let's hope it continues, because even with this great win over a ranked opponent and bragging rights, we've still got a ginormous hole to climb out of at 1-4 in conference. Stay tuned as we are having a special Q & A with BYU's SB Nation blog, Vanquish The Foe prior to Wednesday's tip between the Cougars and Hokies at the Cassell.
* As raucous as UVA fans can be
**Drinking fish AND Space Jam joke