While it was another L in the books for the Hokies, who are free-falling after four straight losses (all ACC), we saw some positive things out of the team tonight (almost all of them were in the first half). For those of us who are being realistic, UNC put a much better team on the court tonight, and so getting much more than what we got out of what we had out there tonight is wishful thinking. For more thoughts on this one and on where the Hokies stand venture onward past the jump.
The Hokies came out of the gates flying (well, after both teams took the first four minutes on offense off). The Tarheels struck first on a John Henson turnaround hook shot to put the Tarheels up 2-0, but several minutes later an Erick Green 3-pointer tied it at 4. UNC went on a 5-0 run before the Hokies went on an 8-5 run of their own, cutting the lead to 3 at the under 12 minute media timeout. A James McAdoo jumper for Carolina put the score at 17-12 after the timeout before Dorenzo Hudson went on an 8-0 run to give the Hokies the 20-12 lead. We traded blows for the remainder of the half with the Hokies' 3-point shooting keeping them above water, even as they gave up a careless rim rocka to John Henson with less than a second left to cut the lead to 5 going into half, 39-34.
Tech extended the lead to 8 early in the second half on an Erick Green 3-pointer that made it 44-36. From that point on it was tough sledding, as UNC went on a 19-0 run (not a misprint) to shut the door, and the Hokies failed to score from the field for 9:18 (yeah, you don't beat the #8 team doing that). Tech went down by as much as 21, but also cut it to 14, which was the final margin.
Again, it stinks to get up on really good teams and not be able to finish the deal. But as poor as our second half was it was pretty much unavoidable. If you couldn't tell, our guys' legs were gone by the end of the first half, and they didn't return in the second. We ran a sprint tonight at a distance race competition. Sometimes you'll see that, and especially with a team playing a much better opponent. They think they have to come out of the gates sprinting (which to some extent is right), when pacing themselves will give them the best chance to win. Our young guys wanted to win a track meet game with a track meet team in UNC, and the announcers (Jay Bilas I believe) said as much.
Our 3-point shooting was on tonight, hitting BY FAR our best percentage in ACC play. Dorenzo Hudson was brought off the bench to give the team a different look, and apparently lit a fire under his hind parts as he came out EN FUEGO, hitting 4-4 3-pointers and scoring 16 first half points. Unfortunately he had the goose egg in the second half. Erick Green had a great game in his return after missing the BC game with an injury to his left knee. He was incredibly efficient, scoring and running the offense, assisting on 5 buckets. Victor Davila actually played pretty well in the first half, but we didn't go to him at all in the 2nd half and settled on contested 3's (which is our gameplan apparently), and he finished with just 2 points (but 8 rebounds, something the big man has been struggling with).
Here are some thoughts about the game in general/the players.
- UNC had more OFFENSIVE rebounds than we had defensive rebounds. That doesn't give you a chance to win games.
- Robert Brown is almost the complete offensive package, but he'll never be special if he doesn't improve his shot selection, which is, to be kind, awful.
- Love what Dorenzo brought us off the bench. Should this be more than a one-game thing?
- We still are not CONSISTENTLY a good enough 3-point shooting team to live or die by the 3-pointer. Don't let tonight fool you.
- Dorian Finney-Smith is lost out there on offense. He has to be able to drive the hole and get points that way to help this team. He is certainly not all he was advertised to be in that department.
- Marquis Rankin will NEVER be a factor on offense. Just like sheep (and this upcoming pun) it's BAAAAAAAAAAAD.
- I LOVE the effort that our team gave in this one. Our legs were dead in the second half, but we still managed to fight (glass half full stuff).
- We BEAT UNC's walk-ons! And thoroughly too! While this is a joke accomplishment, guys like Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen got run off the floor as freshman when the UNC 6'0" academic scholarship roster came in. Same can be said for Dowdell, Gordon and Collins as Soph's. Glad to see some people still thought there was something to play for.
- On a sad note, if we had played like we did tonight in our previous 3 games, we would be 14-4 (3-1) in conference right now. Instead we lost 3 very winnable games and lost by a total of 9 points in those 3 games and are now 0-4 in conference.
Though it looks rough now, we still have an opportunity to close the season out pretty well IF we play more like we did tonight than we did the other 3 games in conference.