Nov 22, 2014; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Adam Smith (3) drives to the basket against Appalachian State Mountaineers guard Chris Burgess (10) at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
In the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge, the Virginia Tech Hokies were easily beaten by the Northern Iowa Panthers 73-54 in what was a disappointing game in Cancun. However, Virginia Tech still had one more game in Cancun against the Redhawks of Miami-Ohio who lost to Northwestern in the other semifinal.
Tonight, the Hokies picked up an impressive win that showed that they might be able to finish this season with a strong enough record to go to a postseason tournament like the CBI or possibly the NIT.
Virginia Tech cruised to an easy victory over Miami-Ohio 78-63 in a game that was over at halftime with the Hokies up by 22 after the first half. This gave Buzz Williams the chance to play certain young, bench players more including Satchel Pierce who will likely be the backup big man behind Joey Van Zegeren.
The Hokies had two players in particular who shined in this game in guards Adam Smith and Justin Bibbs. Smith may have been the biggest star of the game as he had 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and was 9 of 14 from the field and 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Justin Bibbs had the best game so far of his collegiate career with 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 beyond the arc. The duo also took 10 total free throws and shot 80% which is a lot of progress compared to the free throw issues the Hokies have had in many games.
It is becoming clear that Smith and Bibbs are going to be the lead scorers in the backcourt for Virginia Tech this season. It is also clear that Smith has gotten very comfortable in Blacksburg and now that he is healthy, we are getting to see how good Smith can really be.
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The Hokies had more rebounds than the Redhawks in this game 35 to 25 with Virginia Tech being led on the glass by Joey Van Zegeren who had 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block in 21 minutes. Smith also made a big impact with 6 rebounds while Satchel Pierce had one of his better games of the season with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block in 13 minutes.
The Hokies made a lot of progress at the free throw line with Virginia Tech going 18 for 24 from the charity stripe for a shooting percentage of 75%. However, the Hokies had 22 turnovers which are absolutely unacceptable in any game. Justin Bibbs had 6 of those turnovers while Ahmed Hill had five of his own. However, the two freshmen should continue to make progress and this number should go down over the next few weeks.
Before you go to crazy with happiness, remember that this Virginia Tech team is still very young and that patience will be important this season. However, tonight showed how much potential that this team has which definitely has to excite Buzz Williams going forward.