The last time the Virginia Tech Hokies won a basketball game it was New Years Eve 2013, Kevin Durant was a mortal, and Justin Bieber wasn't a criminal (officially anyway). Saturday afternoon Virginia Tech continued its losing ways in the New Year falling to Maryland 80-60. Before I dive into any statistical analysis, let me paint the picture of how Hokies Basketball is perceived at the moment. While enjoying brunch at Boudreaux's before the tip off a waitress asked the two students at the table next to me if they were going to be attending the basketball game today. To which they responded "The basketball game? No way, they're awful, they are no fun to watch." They were not the only ones who felt the game wasn't worth attending as Cassell was fairly empty including a large amount of empty seats in the student section.
While the program seems to be heading in the wrong direction, there was a man in the stands today who will determine if things will turn around. That man is new Athletic Director Whit Babcock who was greeted warmly by the fans when he was shown on the Jumbotron. He couldn't have picked a better first game to go to. Everything that has been wrong with this team all season was evident in today's loss.
While it may sound like I'm beating a dead horse, missed free throws were once again a key reason Virginia Tech lost the game. They shot a mere 16-27 from the line. Tech's shooting struggles also continued today where they shot 37% from the floor. They had open looks most of the game but it doesn't matter how open you are when you don't have the type of players that can knock the shots down. Jarrell Eddie who has been hot or cold this season had a "cold" game today where he missed all 9 of his shot attempts including 5 from down town. I give credit to the Hokies who tried to take the action down low and beat the Terrapins on the block. Tech had success getting good looks down low but they simply couldn't finish them. There were numerous missed lay-ups and hooks by Tech's post players. If the Hokies are going to win another game this season they will need their post players to capitalize on easy buckets.
The lone standout player from the Hokies was Ben Emelogu who continued his impressive season with a 21 point performance. He continues to be Tech's lone perimeter player that can create a shot for himself and knock down free throws when he gets fouled on drives. Maryland enjoyed a nice offensive performance by their team where four players scored in double digits and they shot over 50% as a team. Sophomore Point Guard Seth Allen really ran the show for the Terrapins where he scored 16 points and dished out seven assists.
The Terrapins, who improved to 5-4 in the ACC, look to stay atop the conference when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on the always tough UNC Tar Heels on Tuesday. Virginia Tech will still be looking for their first win of 2014 when they take on the Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee (13-7, 4-4 ACC) this Wednesday.