It was nervous time for the Hokies as they took to the Carilion Court in a sold out Cassell Coliseum. Coming off a 2 loss skid, and 3 loses in the last four games had dumped the Hokies down to #22 in the AP Poll, and certainly started some gnawing of fingernails and flop sweat worrying.
The new magic seems to be forming around returning Ty Outlaw and Nickeil Alexander-Walker as both of them scored in double digits with a total of 8 three pointers between them. Outlaw led Hokie scoring this evening in a really strong appearance.
Things looked a tad problematic with the end of the first half and a see saw match that Georgia Tech threatened to stretch out a bit but a chance to get within one point ended with a turnover by P.J. Horne. The court was turned over to the half-time entertainment at 27-30 in favor of Georgia Tech.
It seems whatever Buzz had to say at halftime was a bracing draft of win tonic, because the Hokies came out of the half with a full head of steam. Nickeil Alexander-Walker stole the ball, and Wabissa Bede layed it in for two. It grabbed that two point opportunity lost at the end of the first half, and started a sort of lidded bucket flurry of back and forth action until Tech finally broke the ice with a 14-1 point run that ended up putting the game away.
Georgia Tech would threaten, however. Devoe, Banks, and the Norwegian Sjolund kept up some serious heat, scoring threes and narrowing the gap several times over the last middle 10 minutes of the 2nd half. Eventually the depleted but still game Hokies kept up the pressure and ended the game with a spate of 3 for 2s that sealed the deal.
Overall the Hokies played much better, but they are still having serious consistency problems in the middle of the game, especially during critical periods of the 2nd half. The inability to put teams away after big runs will remain a theme.
In any event, that win stops the skid. We might go back to a see-saw sort of win loss pattern, but Hokie Nation can take a breath for now. Tech has three winnable games left, Pitt, Notre Dame, and the regular season finale at Cassell against Miami. In between are the challenges of UVA, Duke, and Florida State. If this new configuration can jell, and get a good handle on some consistent play through the entire game one or more of the big monsters could fall.
Don’t look for Justin Robinson to be back. He’s still on crutches, and I can’t see how he’d be in any kind of shape to play in any tournament. Having P.J. Horne back is good, and he broke the ice a bit with some points on the board.