The Hokies could not afford to be in foul trouble or get pounded on the glass if they wanted to pull off an upset against a talented Florida State team.
Unfortunately, both of those problems came to visible fruition. The rebounding margin was +7 in favor of the Seminoles at the half, but that doubled in the second half. The Hokies allowed FSU to get three opportunities to score on some possessions, which they simply could not afford. In addition, Zach LeDay, who was essentially the Hokies’ only hope on the glass and he was called for his fourth foul with over 9 minutes remaining. Buzz was forced to take him out, and the Seminoles went on an 11-0 run where they overwhelmed the Hokies with their absurd athleticism and length. Williams even played Ty Outlaw at the 5 in LeDay’s absence, which obviously was a failed experiment.
The Hokies played very well defensively in the first half, which allowed the offense to find their rhythm. Virginia Tech was able to find the middle man in FSU’s zone defense and found open shooters. As a result, the Hokies knocked down seven triples in the first half, going into halftime with a 35-33 lead.
In the second half, the Hokies suffered from a combination of missing open shots and better perimeter defense from Florida State. They shot 33.3% in the final twenty minutes, and did not make a three until the last minute of the game. Meanwhile, Florida State attacked the rim maniacally and the Hokies could not get enough rebounds to stop them. The Seminoles ended the game with 16 second chance points, and a 42-20 edge in points in the paint.
After posting career numbers against Wake Forest, Zach LeDay once again led the team in points and rebounds despite being in foul trouble. The redshirt senior had 22 points and 9 boards. ACC Sixth Man of the Year Seth Allen was second on the team with 17 points, but on an inefficient 4-13 from the field and also turned it over 5 times. As a team, the Hokies had 15 giveaways.
This loss is not a bad one for the Hokies. They showed they are ready for primetime by competing with one of the deepest teams in the country, and they will surely be dancing very soon. The most important thing for the team right now is rest. Justin Robinson has a sore ankle that needs to heal, and the Hokies are down to a seven man rotation. All seven players need to be as healthy as possible heading into the first round of the tournament.