Before the chaos of National Signing Day, the Virginia Tech Hokies travelled to Syracuse with the hopes of ending their four-game losing streak with a win against the Orange. For most of the game, Virginia Tech was the better team, but the Hokies’ result didn’t match their performance.
The Hokies lost 68-60 in overtime despite the fact that Syracuse did not hold a single lead in this game until the extra five minutes. Virginia Tech seemed in absolutely control for most of the game with Virginia Tech holding off multiple Syracuse runs in the second half before Michael Gbinije hit a deep three to tie the game for the final time before overtime.
Down the stretch, the Hokies had a lead that was as big as 7 points, but the Orange made a couple of impressive threes down the stretch to force overtime before outscoring the Hokies 12-4 in the extra period. Virginia Tech failed to finish this victory, but the Hokies once again showed that they are one of the top 11 teams in the ACC, and are a NIT team this season.
The Hokies were outrebounded 44-37, but the 15-11 gap in offensive rebounds shows how the Hokies have definitely made some improvements in rebounding the basketball. Virginia Tech also was quite effective in the first half from beyond the arc going 5-of-11 from deep before making only 2 of their final 13 three-point attempts.
Virginia Tech was even in the turnover department with Syracuse with both teams having 14 turnovers while the Hokies did a good job moving the ball around with 16 assists. Virginia Tech also had 7 steals and put together one of their best defensive displays of the season by holding Syracuse to only 60 points.
Justin Bibbs had one of his best games of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double with both coming against Syracuse. Bibbs only shot 3-of-10 from beyond the arc as he struggled down the stretch, but his aggressiveness was big with Bibbs able to make a few threes and make some shots right around the basket.
Bibbs also produced on the glass in this game, and can continue to be a key scoring threat if he can consistently play aggressively on the offensive end instead of being more passive in situations where the best thing for the team is for him to attack.
Zach LeDay quietly had another solid game with 13 points and 8 rebounds while shooting 6-of-11 from the field. LeDay has been steady for the Hokies this season as a consistently productive player on offense and in his rebounding for much of the season.
LeDay has been a great surprise for the Hokies that has helped raise expectations among fans and analysts this season and beyond.
Seth Allen was not efficient shooting the basketball but had 11 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds in what was a solid night for the former Maryland point guard. Kerry Blackshear did a lot of little things well that don’t get measured on the stat sheet, and had a solid night statistically with 8 points and 4 rebounds.
Justin Robinson had one of his better games of late with 7 points, 4 rebounds and one assist while Devin Wilson started and made a three along with having 2 assists. Jalen Hudson went 0-for-7 from the field and only had 2 points in what was a nightmare game for Hudson while Satchel Pierce had 2 fouls and Matt Galloway briefly touched the floor.
Virginia Tech played well, but their failure to close puts some pressure on Saturday’s game with Clemson to end their five-game losing streak. The Tigers definitely look like a NCAA Tournament team, but the Hokies can absolutely win this game and need to get a victory with back-to-back road games at Virginia and Miami after the Tigers.
Virginia Tech came up just short and needs to start closing these games out, but there are plenty of positive takeaways especially with some of the crazy shots that Syracuse made.