Yhe old saying is winning in March takes “Blood, Sweat and Tears” is very fitting when it comes to the ACC. 100% of the time, Buzz Williams has no trouble with the Sweat part of the equation, but on this Wednesday night, Buzz had the Blood part as well. I have no clue why the Hokie head man was bleeding from his shoulder. For many Hokie fans, the Tears part almost came during the last two minutes of the game. With 1:28 left in the game the Hokies were up 12, but Wake Forest never quit playing and made this game a lot closer in the final seconds. However, the Hokies managed to salt this game away at the free throw line, despite some tense moments. The Hokies won their openijg game of the ACC tourney for the third-straight year 99-90.
In a rematch from Senior day on Saturday where Wake Forest spoiled Zach LeDay and Seth Allen’s day, the two seniors found some sense of revenge. The two seniors led the Hokies in scoring with Allen scoring 18 and LeDay pouring in 31 to lead all scorers. LeDay was matched up with arguably one of the top five players in the ACC (and more than likely a lottery pick) in John Collins, who finished with 15 points and 10 boards. On Saturday, Collins got the win in the matchup leading his team to victory but today, the Hokies’ undersized big man was the clear star of the game.
LeDay was a monster adding 15 rebounds to his stat line, but more impressively was the fact 7 of those came on the offensive end. These offensive rebounds were back breakers in the first half where Wake Forest looked to put the Hokies away early. The Hokies would correct a major flaw from their loss on Sunday by besting the Demon Deacons on the boards 38-34.
The game was a tale of two halves as the Hokies could not seem to get it going from the outside, a calling card all season for the Hokies. Virginia Tech was a meager 3-11 from three while Wake was a smoldering 6-9. This lack of consistent shooting resulted in a 7-point deficit at the half. However, the Hokies turned this shooting around shooting 7-13 from downtown in the second half, while limiting the Deacons to just 4-15 from the outside.
This change could have no better representation than with Ty Outlaw. The Hokie swingman is no doubt the hottest shooter in the country coming in to tonight’s game, but he struggled early missing his first three from outside but in the second half he hit his next four from outside, to finish with 14 for the game. The Hokies also turned around the free-throw game as well from Sunday, as they got to the line 35 times hitting 27 of these easy point chances.
The Hokies’ win advances them to a matchup with the Florida State Seminoles tomorrow night. The short rest time will definitely play a factor as the Hokies only play 7 people consistently. It will be interesting to see how the ankle of Justin Robinson responds to the quick turnaround. Robinson twisted his ankle early in the first half but gutted the rest of the game out in route to a 5-point, 7-assist night. Robinson was visibly limping in the second half. The Hokies can not afford to lose their starting point guard during this tournament time.
With the loss it appears Wake Forest is firmly on the bubble and will have to wait till Sunday night to see if they will be dancing. The Hokies next game will be tomorrow night at 7 on ESPN. Hopefully, the Hokies can take another step forward in the Buzz Williams era and advance to the semi-finals of the ACC tournament. Hopefully there will be no tears to go along with the Blood and Sweat tomorrow night.