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For about 25 minutes, it looked like Virginia Tech was poised to pass its first major test of the season with flying colors. However, foul trouble, turnovers and poor shooting plagued the Hokies for the game's final 15 minutes, resulting in a 15-point loss to Kansas State at Bramlage Coliseum.
A lot of fans have done a lot of complaining about the officiating and some of it may have even been warranted. But the Hokies were their own worst enemy in Manhattan and when that happens, not even poor officiating in your favor can compensate.
In the second half, the Hokies shot only 33.3 percent, while K-State shot 45.2 percent. Malcolm Delaney, who led the team with 22 points, also had nine turnovers, including four during an 11-0 K-State run that gave the Wildcats a 17-point lead with just over four minutes to play and essentially ended the game.
All three of Virginia Tech's starting forwards were in serious foul trouble throughout the second half, forcing the Hokies to play zone, which is far beyond their comfort level. Whether or not that foul trouble was due to their own recognizance or officiating, depends on who you ask. To me, it both were at fault. Were some of the calls a little ticky-tack? Sure, but when you find yourself scrambling to make a play after getting out of position, you make it easy for the ref to blow the whistle.
Also, it wasn't like the K-State's stars weren't in foul trouble. The Wildcats' best player, Jacob Pullen, was out for nearly the entire first half and the Hokies couldn't take advantage, trailing by one at the break.
What this game taught us is that it's easy for the Hokies to get in trouble when they aren't making jump shots. Right now they're very undermanned down low and they can't complicate things further by losing their cool when shots aren't falling and calls aren't going their way, especially on the road.
This team could still be an elite team because Delaney has the potential to take over any given night. But as we learned Tuesday afternoon, the Hokies still have a lot of things to work on if they want to live up to their billing as the second-best team in the ACC.
SBN: Both Teams Struggled
Bring on the Cats: Strong Effort from Supporting Cast
Inside the Cassell: Officiating Took Allen Out
Tech Hoops: Block/Charge on Allen Changed Game