While it was not pretty, Virginia Tech ended the non-conference schedule with a win, beating UMBC 87-70. Buzz Williams cannot be happy with his team’s performance tonight. They were lazy with the basketball, made too many mental errors on the defensive end, and looked a half-step slow. Those issues were not as glaring in the second half, but plenty of concern remains due to the inconsistencies with this team.
As far as individual performances, Chris Clarke turned in his third great performance in a row, two games after notching the first triple-double in Hokies’ history.
In his last three games, @Chris_Clarkee has:— Jawhar Ali (@soundslikejafar) December 29, 2016
One Triple Double
Clarke has become an x-factor during the non-conference schedule. He seems to have gotten better every game. His presence on both ends of the floor will be needed to contain all the outstanding weapons Duke possesses when they visit Cassell Coliseum on Saturday.
Ahmed Hill, Justin Robinson, Seth Allen, and Zach LeDay were all in double figures as well. Allen, Robinson, and Hill combined to go 11/21 on three point attempts, continuing their hot streak shooting the basketball from deep this season.
The Hokies defense was outstanding for most of the night. UMBC’s Jairus Lyles had some success, scoring 21 points on his 19 attempts, but as a team, UMBC shot just 36.2% from the field. The intensity and effort on that side of the ball has been the most consistent part for Virginia Tech.
The second most consistent aspect of this team is how careless they have been with the basketball. Some of their turnovers would make JaVale McGee proud. Virginia Tech will not have conference success if they turn the ball over 14 times like they did tonight. Justin Robinson had some passes go awry on him, leading to seven turnovers in his name. Chirs Clarke forced the issue too much in the paint. If it means slowing down the pace of the game just a little bit, that’s fine. In a game where momentum means so much, the turnover battle is crucial.
#5 Duke is next on the schedule on Saturday.