After dominating their first two opponents, most expected the Virginia Tech Hokies to advance to the finals of the 2K Classic. While most expect Saint Louis to be a quality mid to upper tier Atlantic 10 team, most didn't expect that the Billikens would be in this game in the end.
Instead, it was Virginia Tech who struggled to stay in this game.
In what was one of the worst games Virginia Tech has played recently, the Hokies were upset by a better-than-expected Saint Louis team 77-71. The Billikens picked up a quality win that could help them make a postseason tournament like the NIT or even push for the NCAA Tournament if they continue to play this well.
The Hokies were not the same on either end as the Hokies shot only 40.4% from the field while Saint Louis shot 47.4% from the field. The Hokies were also outrebounded 43-33 including 9-7 on the offensive glass with most of the Hokies' offensive rebounds coming in the final minute. Virginia Tech got to the line a lot, but didn't get the job done at the charity stripe going 23-for-36 and leaving too many points on the board.
Ahmed Hill was the one Hokie who had a strong game with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting including 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc. Hill has been solid through the first two games, and may be the guy who is able to step up as the Hokies' leading scorer this year.
Justin Bibbs made his debut after missing the first two games and wasn't too bad on the offensive end with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. However, Bibbs struggled from beyond the arc making only 1 of 4 three-point attempts.
After great starts to the season, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kerry Blackshear both had tough nights. Blackshear had 10 points, 6 rebounds, and a block, but also shot a disappointing 4-of-7 from the free-thro line and fouled out. Meanwhile, NAW had by far his worst game of the season with only 4 points on 1-of-7 shooting. Alexander-Walker showed in this game that he's still a freshman and won't be great every night as he was in his first two games.
Justin Robinson went 9-for-12 from the free-throw line for 9 points, but also missed all 7 of his shots. Chris Clarke was strong on the glass with 13 rebounds but shot a poor 1-of-7 from the field for 4 points on the night. Devin Wilson had 1 point, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 19 minutes while Tyrie Jackson had a bucket coming off the bench.
This loss is a tough one for the Hokies and one that can definitely be overcome. However, there's no doubt that this was an unexpected upset that will hurt the Hokies' resume and prevents them from having a chance to pick up a quality win over Providence.
If the Hokies are on the bubble on Selection Sunday, this loss has the potential to be costly especially if Saint Louis can't keep this high level of play up.
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