Virginia Tech Basketball loses to St. Joseph’s 79-62
Coming off of a four game winning streak, the matchup against St. Joseph’s was a big one considering the two teams had almost identical records (St. Joe’s: 8-2 and Virginia Tech: 8-3). Tech had momentum, and ACC play was just around the corner. Unfortunately most, if not all of that momentum was lost on Tuesday, as Virginia Tech lost by 17 points. It really wasn’t much of a nail-biter. This wasn’t a game that got out of hand late, Tech didn’t blow any kind of lead (besides the 2-0 lead that quickly went to 2-8 in favor of Saint Joseph’s), it was in Saint Joseph’s control the whole time.
So what implications does this loss have? The optimism I had that Tech could finish with a winning season has vanished. With the giants looming in West Virginia and top ACC teams, the Virginia Tech basketball team really needed to show that they were a more complete team at this point in the season. D-I schools like Virginia Tech schedule easy games at the beginning of the season to establish their identity and build confidence going into the tougher conference schedules. These cupcake games are usually peppered in with some more challenging opponents to really test who you are, and unfortunately for Tech, all confidence they’d established with their previous four blowout wins (Radford was closer, but still a solid win) is now gone.
So let’s look at what went wrong. The real killer was that Seth Allen took until the second half to heat up. He was held to just 2 points in the first half, before adding 16 in the second. Rebounds killed the Hokies as well. They gave up 19 offensive rebounds… NINETEEN. Hard to win against anybody when you’re going to give a team that many second chances. Saint Joe’s scored a combined 48 points off of turnovers or second chance points. If you told any coach going into a game that they’d give up that many points off of turnovers and offensive rebounds, they would tell you that their team was going to loss that game. Justin Bibbs picked a bad night to go cold from behind the three-point line (0-2).
Dec 22, 2015; Brooklyn , NY, USA; Saint Joseph
Any optimism has to come from the fact that those second chances were needed for St. Joseph’s. They were held to 39.4% from the field. Whether this was a poor shooting day for the Hawks, or Virginia Tech was able to disrupt their rhythm, it’s going to be vital the Hokies can continue to play tough defense the rest of the year. They just need to continue playing tough once shots go up in the air and start winning some more battles under the boards.
The Hokies have some time to regroup before taking on #19 West Virginia on the 30th. Hokie fans, brace yourself, it could be ugly.
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