Ben Emelogu came off the bench to score 22 points to lead Virginia Tech to an 87-82 victory over West Virginia in a Tuesday afternoon game in Blacksburg that was part of ESPN’s college basketball Tip-Off Marathon.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of young guys that don’t understand when you stop playing other people don’t.” said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. “We quit guarding and at the same time we missed two layups when they make their run. We missed several wide-open shots and we didn’t shoot it particularly well.”
The Hokies, who lost their season opener to South Carolina Update last Saturday, overcame a 17-point first half deficit, using a 24-8 run over the remaining 8:21 to reduce West Virginia’s lead to 41-36 at the break.
Tech then scored the first eight points of the second half to take a three-point lead, 44-41, and led by nine, 58-49, with 13:40 remaining before the Mountaineers used a 13-3 run to retake the lead, 62-61, on two Eron Harris
A Harris layup with 4:51 left gave WVU a 74-73 lead, and later a Nathan Adrian
3 from the top of the key with 2:31 remaining had the Mountaineers in front 77-76.
But Tech answered with back-to-back baskets, one a turnaround jumper by Jarrell Eddie and the other a driving layup by Adam Smith after a Juwan Staten
drive to the basket was blocked by Tech’s Cadarian Raines – one of 13 blocks for the Hokies this afternoon.
A Remi Dibo 3 from the wing closed Virginia Tech’s lead to one, 83-82, before four straight free throws from Smith and Devin Wilson iced it for the Hokies.
For Tech, Smith scored 19, Wilson contributed 16 and Eddie ended with 10 points after going scoreless in the first half.
After missing 14 of its first 17 shots, Virginia Tech finished the game making 26 of 57 to shoot 45.6 percent.
“I have said every single day, ‘Fellas, you can’t stop playing. You can’t stop competing and you can’t stop guarding.’ We got into foul trouble just like I told them we would because their guy caught it, our guy is standing up and there they go: foul,” said Huggins.
Dibo came off the bench to lead West Virginia with 17 points, Harris added 16 and Gary Browne
scored 15 for the Mountaineers, now 1-1.
produced 10 points, but was just 3-of-12 shooting; Staten and Harris combined to make 7 of their 29 shot attempts from the floor.
Freshman Devin Williams
led all players with 11 rebounds for West Virginia.
WVU finished the game shooting 35.7 percent after hitting at a 56-percent clip in last Friday’s season opener against Mount St. Mary’s.
The Hokies were 30 of 38 from the free throw line for 78.9 percent while West Virginia was 21 of 33 for 63.6 percent in a contest that saw 53 fouls called on both teams.
“It’s frustrating because we had the game in hand; it’s frustrating because we maybe did enough things to win in spite of not shooting the ball very well, but we didn’t guard and we threw everything I could think at them (defensively),” said Huggins.
West Virginia guard Terry Henderson
saw his first action of the season, scoring 2 points in limited time coming off the bench. Henderson missed WVU’s exhibition game and season opener with inflammation in his shin.
"We put ourselves in a hole (with today's loss) and this is a game we could-have, should-have won," said Huggins. "So we'll have to go win some that people don't think we can."
West Virginia returns to action this Sunday at the WVU Coliseum against Duquesne in a game that will tipoff at 4 p.m. and will be televised locally by ROOT Sports.