Virginia Tech Basketball: Grading the Starters in the Loss Against Syracuse
On Wednesday night, the Virginia Tech basketball team fell 69-58 to the Syracuse Orange in Madison Square Garden.
Despite the result, Hokie fans were treated to a lot of positives from a young team. Syracuse didn't have a lead until twelve minutes remained in the second half.
The Hokies exceeded expectations for most of the game and overcame a giant size mismatch to hold Syracuse to only 69 points. The Orange's best player, Scoop Jardine, had just one bucket for two points.
On such a big stage, Coach Greenberg elected to avoid playing his freshmen as much as possible. Neither Joey Van Zegeren nor Marquis Rankin saw the floor at all, and C.J. Barksdale played only one minute in the losing effort.
Only the five starters played more than 20 minutes for Greenberg and although Cadarian Raines and Robert Brown logged some solid minutes, their impact was not too significant.
The grades for the five starters follow.
G Erick Green
During the offseason, Tech fans heard about how Green had improved his outside shooting. On Wednesday, he proved it.
Green shot 4-7 from the outside including a bomb from NBA range. He also recorded five rebounds against a huge Syracuse frontcourt and managed two assists and three steals.
Defensively, Green's efficiency against Scoop Jardine led Jim Boeheim to sit his star player for the majority of the second half.
Despite Tech's turnover problems as a team overall, Green only committed one himself even though he handled the ball more than any other Hokie.
The biggest flaw in Green's game Wednesday was his inability to get the zone offense set up quickly and oftentimes the Hokies needed to shoot a desperation three to beat the shot clock.
G Dorenzo Hudson
Hudson had a very up-and-down game Wednesday night, showing flashes of brilliance and hustle one minute and committing head-scratching turnovers the next.
Hudson totaled three turnovers for the game to go along with 13 points on 3-7 shooting. Dorenzo also led the Hokies in minutes with 38 as Greenberg has made it very clear that he expects Hudson to lead this team throughout the season.
Overall, Dorenzo Hudson played a pretty good game. He shot 6-6 from the free-throw line—a welcome sight to Hokie fans who have become all too used to mediocrity from the charity stripe.
However, if the turnover problem is going to be solved, it needs to start with senior captain Hudson, and three turnovers is too much.
F Dorian Finney-Smith
Virginia Tech's most highly touted freshman, Finney-Smith, has now in his brief Hokie career recorded two double-doubles and two games with fewer than three points.
Wednesday was the latter as Dorian made only one of his three field-goal attempts for a total of two points.
He also tied the team high with four turnovers and committed four fouls attempting to guard Syracuse forward Kris Joseph, who led the Orange with 20 points.
However, Finney-Smith continued to show his rebounding prowess as he grabbed seven boards, two offensive. He has at least seven rebounds in every game thus far and appears to be the only Hokie who consistently boxes out on the defensive glass.
F Jarell Eddie
Eddie came out from the opening tip ready to play. He knocked down a three on the very first possession of the game and managed to assist or score on four of Tech's first five buckets.
Eddie then cooled down a bit as he missed his next four three-point attempts before making another in the closing seconds after the game was decided.
He did a fantastic job of breaking Boeheim's zone with the 15-foot jump shots near the free-throw line even though a couple did get blocked.
Eddie recorded two blocks of his own on defense to lead all Hokies and also led the team with five assists and 17 points.
Perhaps his most impressive stat, however, was the zero turnovers committed in 35 minutes of play. All other players with at least 17 minutes played committed at least one turnover.
F Victor Davila
This was an ugly game for the senior from Puerto Rico. Although he is listed as a forward, Davila plays the 5 and is the closest thing to a starting center Seth Greenberg has with Van Zegeren seeing limited action.
You would expect a center to pull down a lot of boards, but Davila recorded only two rebounds Wednesday night.
This is mostly due to the fact that he was in foul trouble all night and only played 22 minutes but when your biggest post presence has more fouls and turnovers (four) than he has rebounds, it's tough to beat a big team like Syracuse.
On the brighter side, Davila held big man Fab Melo to only six points and two rebounds. That's right—they both had identical numbers for points and rebounds. Had you told Greenberg that before the game, he definitely would have taken that in a heartbeat.