Virginia Tech 81, Quinnipiac 61
No luck of the Irish needed here.
In this decisive win it was clear from the start that Tech was the better team.
The Hokies after losing out on a bid to the NCAA Tourney dominated the boards in this matchup, seemed energized and ready to tackle their way through the bracket of the NIT.
They outrebounded the team 42-30 and held the Bobcats to 38% field goal percentage.
The 99% dominated Hokie crowd cheered fervently in their faithful orange and maroon combinations and of course green.
It was nice to see fans taking a few hours out of their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to rock the Cassell.
Malcolm Delaney bounced off a disappointing performance against Miami (shooting 3-15 and sinking only 7 points) last week to lead the Hokies with 25 points.
With 6:18 to play in the first half, the Hokies only lead by seven. But then with two consective threes by Malcolm Delaney the Hokies cemented their lead and it widened fromt there.
The only problem with the Hokies play was their free throw shooting. They only made 16 of 26, 61%. Poor shooting like that would have led to a one and out in the NCAA Tourny where FT Shooting often decides games. Dare I say it is better that they are in the NIT?
With one win under their belt the Hokies next face UConn in another home game. This should be an interesting match up. The Huskies are 18-15 and have dropped 4 of there last 6 games playing rather inconsistently all season, but they are not to be underestimated.
They gave Georgetown a run for their money back in January in a down to the wire 72-69 loss. They also had narrow losses to Marquette, Syracuse, and Cincinnati in the mammoth known as the Big East.
They have beat West Virginia and Villanova.
Keys to the Game:
Virginia Tech needs to make their free throws. They cannot afford to give up ten points like they did to Quinnipiac.
They also need to focus on getting points in the paint. They cannot always rely on the three.
UConn needs a big game from Jerome Dyson who averages 17 points. They also have an edge of coming from the Big East in a league where it is anybody’s game.
For Virginia Tech to win they need to shoot at least 50% from the field, prevent UConn from second chance points and not turnover the ball.
The Hokies and Huskies face off Monday.