Virginia Tech 72, St. Joseph's 61

HokieCentral's Game Report

This was a victory that was started by Jenis Grindstaff, who had three 3-pointers in the first half, and was finished by Russ Wheeler and Rolan Roberts, who took over down the stretch for the win.

Tech played as well offensively as I have seen them play all year in the first half, and the Hokies retired to the dressing room with a 40-36 half time lead.  The Hokies came out strong in the second half, but when Rolan Roberts picked up his third foul and took a seat on the bench with about 16 minutes to go, Tech went flat.  St. Joe's scored 7 straight points to turn a 48-41 deficit into a 48-48 tie, and the two teams battled back and forth for a while.

With Tech clinging to a 60-59 lead, the Hokies started to go inside to Wheeler and Roberts, and the Hokies pulled away.  There never was a problem on defense in the second half, it was just that the offense was sputtering.

I remember two key sequences down the stretch.  Rolan Roberts hit a jumper and followed it with a block on the defensive end.  Tech scored on the ensuing Hokie possession, and a very tight game got a little looser.  Later, with the Hokies leading by 5 with about a minute and a half to go, Tech held the ball for the full 35 seconds, and Andre Ray hit a difficult shot in the lane to extend the lead to 7 with less than a minute to go.  Ball game over.

All in all, it was a nice late-game victory for the Hokies, who had faltered down the stretch several times this year.  I thought Russ Wheeler (9-14) played a great offensive game, and St. Joe's didn't seem to have an answer for him.

Notable:  St. Joseph's was without leading scorer Rashid Bey, who stayed back in Philadelphia with the flu ... St. Joe's had not been outrebounded in a single game this year, but the Hokies pounded the Hawks on the boards, 37-18 ... the Hawks were not very beefy, but they had an unending stream of 6-8 beanpoles that they threw at the Hokies, to no avail ... the Hokies passed extremely well, totaling a remarkable 20 assists on just 26 baskets ... there is an error in the USA Today stats linked below.  They show David Whaley has having 18 points, and it wasn't Whaley, it was Wheeler.

USA Today Game Summary (includes stats)

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