Virginia Tech 81, Duquesne 60
Saturday, February 27, 1999

A couple of years ago, I watched Duquesne play the Hokies, and I thought, "Wow, those two guards they've got - Pipkin and James - are good.   But they've got nothing else."

Last year, I though, "Wow, that guy James is good, but he's a senior.  They've got nothing else.  When he graduates, they're going to be awful."

This year, I was right.  After losing to the Hokies in this one by a wide margin, Duquesne finishes the regular season 5-22.  You think the Hokies were having a rough season in January, when they were 5-9?  Try tacking 13 more losses on that.  That's where Duquesne is.

Not to take anything away from the Hokies, but that's what they were facing in this one.  So it only makes sense that Tech should romp in this one, bringing home a 20+ point win.

This game was tight early, with Tech holding just a 16-15 lead, but the Hokies finished the first half strong to take a 38-23 lead.  Duquesne would put on a bit of a run to close that margin to 44-36 with about twelve minutes to go, but then Bobby Hussey put Dennis Mims and Rolan Roberts on the floor at the same time, with about twelve minutes to go.

Dennis and Rolan proceeded to go on a block marathon, shutting down the middle and intimidating the Dukes.  Dennis in particular smelled blood, and he and Rolan led the Hokies to 11 blocks for the game.  Tech stretched the lead out to 62-48, and then back-to-back three-pointers by David Whaley and senior day honoree Eddie Lucas put the game out of reach of the underpowered Duquesne Dukes.

Tech coasted to the win from there, and the only drama came when walk-on point guard Sean Floyd went to the line with 30 seconds to go, and Tech sitting on 79 points.  You see, when the Hokies score 81 points and win, it's good for a free double-cheesburger at McDonald's, so the crowd was wired.  Floyd calmly canned both free throws, and he probably left the floor grinning because of the raucous cheers of the fans, never once realizing that the cheers were more for the free food than they were for him.  Still, if anybody on the team is going to score the double-cheese points, who better than the walk-on?

Some observations from the game:

  • Alvaro Tor is out of his mind.  The Spaniard seems to have suddenly realized that his career is almost over, and as one fan behind me said, "Someone's playing with reckless abandon."  Alvaro had three blocks, some nice rebounds, a great steal and pass, and a reverse layup that you would have to see to believe.
  • The Hokies shot 24-28 from the free throw line, including 9-10 by brickmeister Rolan Roberts.  And although I'm glad to see the percentage go up over 80 percent, I can't let it go by without asking, Where was that against Wake Forest or WVU?  What a waste to hit the free throws in a blowout.  Oh, well, you gotta start somewhere, and any time Rolan hits 9 of 10, and looks comfortable doing it, is fine with me.
  • Call me an old coot (okay, I'm only 34), but I've never liked trash talking, and Dennis Mims did too much of it for my taste.  So much that the Duquesne bench was wondering why the refs weren't calling a taunting technical, and so much that Dennis almost came to blows with a Duquesne player who didn't take kindly to his woofing (and people wonder why a lot of fans like women's basketball better - ever see Lisa Witherspoon or Tere Williams embarrass herself by taunting an opponent?  I didn't think so).  Dennis was taller and more talented than most of the Dukes - heck, all of them - and he smelled blood and was feeling his oats a little bit.  I just wish the results of his bravado consisted of a little more class and a lot less trash.

Any time you can send your seniors out in style, the day is a success, and Alvaro Tor and Eddie Lucas were treated to a run-and-gun win that saw the Hokies playing with confidence.  The Hokies finish the regular season 12-14, 4th place in the A-10 West, and will play a first-round A-10 tournament game on Wednesday at noon against Fordham or St. Joe's.

USA Today box score
Roanoke Times article

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