Temple 45, Virginia Tech 41

Hokie Central's Game Report

I promise not to use the word "ugly" during this game report. That word has been used way too much when describing this basketball team.

In my opinion, this game boiled down to one thing: guard play. After watching Temple's famed matchup zone all night long, I can report that it gives you ample opportunity to score from behind the 3-point arc. The formula is simple - the point guard drives towards the middle, drawing two defenders, and dishes back to an open shooter on the left or the right.

That's the way you beat their matchup zone. Heck, that's the way you beat any zone. The Hokies launched twenty 3-pointers, making 5 of them, and they passed up a lot of open opportunities (I don't see how David Jackson avoided the urge to launch an open 3-pointer nearly every time down the floor, except for the fact that he wasn't stroking it well and thus was playing it conservative).

Continuing the guard play theme, it's almost a given that Temple is going to beat you down in the paint, because they've got big guys who rebound well on the offensive end, and on the defensive end, their zone creates a lot of traffic in the middle and makes scoring from the inside almost impossible. That theory held true to form in this game, as Ace scored only 6, Keefe only had 2, and Russ Wheeler had 2. In the meantime, Brokenborough for Temple had 14, the behemoth Mark Jackson had 10, and their three inside starters combined for 25 rebounds.

So what usually does the trick for Temple and enables them to really pound people is a good game out of their guards. Against Tech, they got awful guard play, and that's why the game was so close. The Owls clanked their way to 1-20 from behind the arc, and that prevented them from absolutely running away from the Hokies.

So it boils down to this: if Tech had shot and hit more 3's, we would have won. If Temple had hit more 3's, they would have crushed us.

This game was lost in a 16-minute stretch that spanned the first and second halves. Behind some stellar play by Troy Manns, who I thought had a great game, the Hokies took an 18-10 lead with about 7 minutes to go in the first half. The Hokies went suddenly cold for a while, and with eleven minutes to go in the game, Temple was up, 30-22. As I like to say, "do the math" - that's 4 points in 16 minutes, and that will pretty much doom you against anybody.

So this game came out the way most intelligent people thought it would. Tech struggled against Temple's defense, Temple got some good play down inside, and the game was low-scoring. And oh yeah, Temple won.

Tech's record is now 13-12, 6-7 in the Atlantic 10.

USA Today Game Statistics for Temple 45, Virginia Tech 41

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