Last night, the Virginia Tech Hokies and Florida State Seminoles in what was basically an elimination game with the winner still having a slim shot at going to the NCAA Tournament if they could go on a deep run in the ACC Tournament. The Hokies entered the game with a five-game winning streak and left the Verizon Center last night knowing they would get to return the following day.
The Hokies took down the Seminoles 96-85 in a game in which the Hokies led almost from start to finish with a few moments that were tied. The Hokies were dominant in this matchup largely due to their success from the free-throw line in a game that had an excessive number of fouls called and six players foul out. The Hokies shot 81.1% (30-37) from the line while the Seminoles shot 60% (21-35) from the line which turned out to be one of the big differences on the night.
Virginia Tech was extremely effective getting to the rim and getting easy layups or getting Justin Bibbs open on the outside from their drives or great ball movement. Virginia Tech’s ball movement and aggressiveness made a big difference as the Hokies shot 53.7% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech played some solid defense and even though they gave up 85 points largely due to fouls and giving up 17 offensive rebounds, the Seminoles did only shoot 41.2% from the field and 27.6% from beyond the arc.
The star of the night has to be Zach LeDay who had what might be the best game of his career with 15 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 blocks in what was a dominant performance by the junior forward. Despite going against a big Florida State frontcourt, LeDay was able to be effective on both ends of the floor whether it would be attacking the rim or crashing the boards and blocking shots. LeDay played with an even greater chip on his shoulder after receiving All-ACC Honorable Mention honors, and that showed against FSU.
Seth Allen brought a lot of necessary poise and composure for the Hokies, and led the Hokies in scoring with 20 points on 5-of-9 shooting plus 10-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line. Allen was ready to attack all night, and did a great job of finding ways to draw fouls to get himself to the free-throw line once he saw how tight the referees were calling the game.
Justin Bibbs was left open multiple times and made the Seminoles pay as despite his poor overall shooting effort of 5-for-14, the junior got it done from beyond the arc going 4-of-9 from deep on his way to a 16-point, 4-rebound, 3-assist effort while being the only player to play more than a minute and not get a foul called. Bibbs also had a couple of threes go in and out and is starting to shoot like he did at the beginning of the season from deep which should scare future opponents in the ACC Tournament and postseason play.
Justin Robinson returned home to the Washington D.C. are and had a great game just like Allen as Robinson was aggressive and got to the free-throw line a lot going 9-of-10 from the line and 4-of-7 from the field for 18 points. Robinson has developed into a very good point guard that has been a big reason for the Hokies’ late-season surge and slim hopes of still being able to make the NCAA Tournament.
Kerry Blackshear fouled out but the freshman forward was effective in only 15 minutes with 9 points and 4 rebounds while Chris Clarke had a good night as well with 9 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists. Devin Wilson brought some solid defense and 2 points in only 11 minutes before he fouled out while Jalen Hudson had 7 points and 3 rebounds before he fouled out in a game that seemed to be dominated by excessive fouls in the second half. Shane Henry also started and played 7 minutes with 1 rebound, but will get to play another ACC Tournament game.
Buzz Williams proved once again why he should have been the ACC Coach of the Year, and the Hokies played with a chip on their shoulder. Now, Virginia Tech is a team that many are saying should be feared as one of the hottest teams in a major conference tournament that might just have a deep run in them in front of what will be plenty of excited Hokie fans as long as they are still in the ACC Tournament.