The Hokies fell, Wednesday, to the Mountaineers in their final pre-conference tune up, losing 88-63. The Hokies were able to hang with the Mountaineers for the first period, trailing by just 10 at the half. But West Virginia was able to exploit their talent mismatch in the second, outscoring the Hokies 42-27 after the break.
Individually, there weren’t many standout performances. LeDay once again came close to a double-double, posting 11 points and 9 boards. Shane Henry had a good night, scoring 12 points off the bench, a new career high for him. The bench had a good night in general. Foul trouble meant that guys like Seth Allen were benched, meaning guys on the bench got more minutes, including Shane Henry and Justin Robinson. In fact, the bench outscored the starters 32-31.
- The Hokies shot the ball 47% to the Mountaineers’ 50% but still were blown out by 25. Why? Because West Virginia was able to win the rebounding battle 42-24, including 18 on the offensive glass. As a result, the Hokies took 23 less shots than West Virginia. Given Virginia Tech’s strength was on the glass coming into this game, it is worrisome that they seem thoroughly outmatched by the Mountaineers in the rebounding department.
- The Hokies simply turned the ball over too much to be successful. West Virginia forces turnovers like no other team due to their aggressiveness, but the Hokies had trouble with simple passes. Jalen Hudson was the only backcourt players without 4 turnovers. There were multiple instances where West Virginia’s ball denial on inbounding plays led to bad possessions for the Hokies. Buzz has got to get that issue resolved ASAP.
- Because of West Virginia’s pressure defense, there was often space left behind them to exploit. However, it takes quick ball movement to do that, something good teams must be able to do to win game. The Hokies were able to do just that on a number of occasions, making the extra pass to the open big man, an encouraging sign for the next three months.
- Free throw shooting was once again horrific. ‘Nuff said.
- It’s good that the Hokies had a tough opponent to close this portion of the schedule out. If they got an easy win, complacency could become an issue. This loss should show the Hokies that they have a ton of work to do. But they have to do that work quickly. In one day, a quality NC State side visits Blacksburg and the real season begins.