On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, the Virginia Tech Hokies hosted the Presbyterian Blue Hose at Cassell Coliseum.
The first half of this game was downright hideous. The Hokies, a team who came into this matchup averaging 95 points per game, mustered just 29 points in the first 20 minutes.
This tied for the Hokies lowest scoring half all season.
Much like the previous matchup with Kentucky, turnovers were a major issue. Tech finished the half with six against a team that really isn’t that great defensively.
The Hokies also struggled to do what they do best: make three pointers. They finished with two in the half, while allowing Presbyterian to make five.
Buzz Williams made an interesting tweak to his starting lineup for this game. Freshman PJ Horne was the Hokies’ starter down low tonight in place of redshirt-sophomore Kerry Blackshear. This was an interesting change, as Blackshear was the hero for the Hokies against Kentucky, while Horne didn’t even see the floor. Williams likely saw a matchup advantage in going with a smaller lineup.
Williams quickly grew frustrated with this lineup, as he pulled all five starters at the first media timeout. This caused the Hokies to have ten players rack up at least eight minutes of playing time in the first half.
The second half wasn’t much better.
The Hokies were able to put more points on the board, but they allowed Presbyterian to do the same. Opportunities presented themselves to pull away, but the Hokies were unable to do so.
That is, until the 8-0 run with five minutes left.
Presbyterian burned their final timeout with 4:14 left in the game, and the Hokies were suddenly up 57-47. The Blue Hose still hung around, but were unable to overcome this deficit as the Hokies took this game 63-55.
The Virginia Tech freshmen struggled once again to get significant playing time. Guards Tyrie Jackson and Wabissa Bede only saw playing time during the aforementioned mass substitution of the first half. Meanwhile, Horne and Nickeil Alexander-Walker also saw limited minutes despite both being starters. It is clear that Buzz trusts his veterans down the stretch despite the talent level of the freshmen.
Justin Bibbs had perhaps his worst outing of the season, as he was in quick foul trouble. He finished with four points, four fouls, and four turnovers.
The leading scorer for the Hokies was Ahmed Hill with 12 points.
This was perhaps the Hokies worst performance of the season next to the loss to Saint Louis. They will need to come back stronger in upcoming ACC play.