Men's Basketball Stumble to Eagles at Home
By James Beale
March 2, 2011
After Virginia Tech's signature victory over then-No.1 Duke on Saturday, pundits were predicting the Hokies were a lock to make the NCAA Tournament if they played well in their final two games of the regular season.
With a disappointing 76-61 home loss to Boston College, the Hokies (19-9, 9-6 ACC) seem to be squarely on the bubble.
"I'm embarrassed," said head coach Seth Greenberg. Responding to a question about the team falling due to a hangover after the Duke win, Greenberg began to speak about the team's "emotional tank," and then interrupted himself to say that's "a coward's excuse."
"Today, I looked in their eyes at shootaround," Greenberg said, "and we got exactly what I saw."
The game got ugly quickly.
From a 6-6 tie, Eagles guard Reggie Jackson quickly scored 11 in a row, and Boston College (18-11, 8-7) later extended their lead to 18.
The Eagles were 7-13 from beyond the arc in the first half. Malcolm Delaney partly blamed this on the team not paying enough attention to the scouting report.
"We went under every ball screen in the first half and we knew that if we [went] under the screens they'd shoot the three," he said.
Greenberg called it "a total lack of attention to detail....We didn't make one stand defensively."
Virginia Tech rebounded in the final five minutes of the half, cutting the lead to eight.
In the first minutes of the second half, the Hokies cut the lead to 5 twice, including at 38-33. Slowly, Virginia Tech's deficit grew and frustration came through, culminating in a 20-point deficit at 63-43.
"We got outplayed from the tip," said Erick Green.
Greenberg and Jeff Allen were both called for technical fouls in the second half as well. Greenberg was visibly frustrated all night, barking at players and officials.
"[There was] no energy or emotion in the whole building, quite honestly," he said.
The Hokies not only put their NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy, but also played poorly on senior night, where five seniors, including Delaney, Terrell Bell, and Allen were honored.
"I feel bad for those three seniors," Greenberg said. "You don't want that to be their lasting impression."
Delaney had 17 points and Allen had 14. Bell had 4 points and 8 rebounds in 33 minutes.
After the game, players and coaches both seemed confused and disappointed.
"We had the best practice we've had all year yesterday," said Delaney. "I don't know."
Asked if he was surprised at how lopsided the game was, he said he wasn't "stunned."
Greenberg called the loss "disheartening."
Boston College outrebounded the Hokies by 14 and had nine more assists. The Hokies shot 18 percent from 3-point range, whereas the Eagles ended at 46 percent.
Greenberg took the three seniors out of the game with under two minutes left. "I told them, 'We have a lot of basketball ahead of us,'" Greenberg said.
Delaney said he thinks the Hokies would make the NCAA Tournament with a 10th conference win against Clemson this Saturday, although he noted they missed the tournament last year with 10 conference wins.
After that, the Hokies will play in the ACC Tournament starting next Thursday. The NCAA Tournament starts the following Thursday, but right now, the Hokies are far from a lock.