BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech had been winless on the year when trailing at halftime. But Sunday, against Boston College, the Hokies not only hung around long enough and close enough to make things interesting, they found a way to come out on top.
“Our guys could have cashed it in a number of different times,” VT coach Seth Greenberg said. “They grew up a little bit tonight, I think. They showed they wanted to win. They showed great resiliency. They showed some toughness. …
“We stayed with it and made some plays. Maybe some plays we haven’t made when you think about Florida State, you think about Minnesota and you think about BYU. It’s good that these kids, they’ve won now two of the last three. They found a way to win a close game. So hopefully we can build on it.”
There certainly were some bright spots for the Hokies on Sunday, as we take a look back at the 66-65 win.
1) Half-court strides:
While Virginia Tech’s half-court offense still wasn’t as crisp and effective as it needs to be, Greenberg saw strides, especially in the second half. The Hokies managed just four fast-break points, an area of emphasis for Boston College going into Sunday’s game.
Even taken out of the transition game by a hustling Eagles defense, Tech put up 39 points in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the floor after halftime.
Part of the credit, Greenberg said, goes to junior guard Erick Green. Green scored 10 points – below his team-leading average (15.7) – but Greenberg said Green did the other things that made the Hokies more effective.
“I thought Erick ran our team better, was more verbal,” Greenberg said.
The Hokies also got more balanced scoring. Green was one of four players who hit double figures for Tech.
Dorian Finney-Smith led the Hokies with 17. Dorenzo Hudson added 11 and Green and Victor Davila chipped in 10 each.
2) The effort was there:
Greenberg changed up the starting lineup Sunday, opening the game with Green, Hudson, Davila, Marquis Rankin and C.J. Barksdale. Hudson and Barksdale replaced Finney-Smith and Jarrell Eddie as starters. It wasn’t based on matchups, but rather the effort level Greenberg saw in practice. He wanted to emphasize hustle and toughness.
The moves paid off. Finney-Smith – coming off the bench – had eight rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, to lead the way.
Tech outrebounded the Eagles 33-19 and scored a whopping 22 second-chance points. That number includes the game-winner, a Finney-Smith tip-in of Robert Brown’s missed 3-pointer.
“In some ways we played better tonight than we did against Florida State, except for one facet of the game,” BC coach Steve Donahue, whose team upset FSU the previous game, said. “They went after the ball and they really hurt us with that.”
3) Slow start, as a starter:
Dorenzo Hudson found himself back in the starting lineup Sunday but he didn’t look comfortable in the first half, rushing and forcing shots. He was 0-for-5 from the floor. But in the second half, Hudson settled in. He scored 11 points after the break and was a key catalyst in the Hokies’ comeback.
Greenberg left when a reporter suggested Hudson’s play was “shaky.”
“That’s very kind of you,” Greenberg said. “I don’t know what word I’d use. I used some words at halftime. He played poorly in the first half. In the second half I thought he was very, very good. He competed down on the block with [BC’s Ryan] Anderson.”
For his part, Hudson said it makes no difference to him whether he’s starting or coming off the bench.
“To me, it doesn’t matter, whatever the coach decides,” Hudson said.
RICHMOND, Va. – Before each sports season, sports writers are given media guides. They include bios on a team’s players and coaches and give us a snapshot of who we will be covering.
As I begin my new job as the Virginia Tech beat writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, I thought I’d offer my readers this “media guide” – an actual guide to the media. Here’s a glimpse at who will be covering the Hokies.
Okay, let’s knock out the boring stuff. My name is Mike Barber. I’m 5-foot-11, but since this is a “media guide” lets list me at 6-foot. I’m 195 pounds as I write this, but I’m hoping to be back down to 188 by football season.
I’m from Park Ridge, a very small town in New Jersey. I was on the football and tennis team in high school. (To say I “played” either sport would be a gross exaggeration.)
I went to college at Rutgers University where I worked for the school paper and interned in the publishing department at Major League Baseball. After graduating RU in 2001, I interned at the Newark Star-Ledger.
Since April, 2002, I’ve been at the Daily News-Record in Harrisonburg, Va., where I covered the James Madison University football team for the past nine seasons.
Now, the fun part. Media guides often include random information. After today, these posts will be filled with breaking news, features, analysis and lots of X’s and O’s.
For now, here’s this off-the-beaten-path info. I am a co-owner of a restaurant in Harrisonburg that serves New York style deli sandwiches, pizza by the slice and nachos. It’s called The Corner and is opening later this month.
I’ve also been fascinated – some might say obsessed – with sharks. I take vacation during Shark Week.
If you take me out to the links, and I don’t get sausage, I’m going to be disappointed. I’ve never played a full round of golf in my life. As long as I can still play pick-up basketball and tennis, I don’t plan to change that.
I celebrate my birthday every year with two weeks of festivities that my former boss dubbed Barbermas, because of their length and extravagance.
I won’t be moving to Blacksburg alone. I’ll have my beagle, Seven, coming with me.
As for the Virginia Tech beat, here’s what to expect. I will be very thorough, giving you all the information about the program your passionate about. I’ll write stories in the newspaper and on the website, post blogs here and hit you with about as many Tweets as you can handle.
Some sports writers gripe about the two-way street that Twitter, Facebook and email can make the world of sports – not me.
Feel free to reach out to me to tell me what you think, what you like, what you hate and what you want. My job is to bring you closer and closer to the teams at Virginia Tech. I can’t do that without being closer and closer to all of you.
My coverage of Virginia Tech won’t be designed to promote the Hokies, nor criticize them. I’m here to observe and report, to give you all the news – good and bad – so you can truly follow the teams you care about.
Wins are never perfect, losses never total disasters. Undefeated teams have things to improve upon and winless teams have things that they’re doing well.
No matter the record, I’ll let you inside the world of the Hokies. I hope you’ll enjoy reading.