Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hokie Basketball Recap - Maryland 81, Virginia Tech 72

Virginia Tech's Wynton Witherspoon (left), or any other Hokie for that matter, had a tough time in stopping Maryland's Nik Caner-Medley (center), who finished with a season-high 23 points. (AP Photo)

Okay, so 17 games into the season and I was yet to write once about Virginia Tech basketball, that was due mainly in part to laziness, not incompetence. So do trust me I actually know a good bit about basketball, or at least I'd like to think that way, so here's a little recap I put together of the Hokies' latest action on the basketball court.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Virginia Tech's ACC woes continued Saturday night, as the Hokies dropped their conference record to a dismal 0-5 by losing to the Maryland Terrapins in front of a capacity crowd of 17,950 at the Comcast Center. Despite leading early, the Hokies folded late, and were outscored 44-34 in the final half to end the game by a losing score of 81-72.

For Virginia Tech, point guard Zabian Dowdell and center Coleman Collins continued to display their success in leading the team offensively, as each scored 21 and 18 points respectively. Unfortunately for the Hokies however, Dowdell shot an unimpressive 8-19 from the floor, including a lackluster 1-for-7 effort from behind the three-point arc. With that being said though, Dowdell wasn't the only Hokie having shooting troubles from three-point range. On the night, the Tech basketball team as a whole managed to only knock down 2 three pointers, of their 13 attempts.

Fortunately, however for Seth Greenberg and company, Maryland's shooting wasn't much better. In breaking down both teams' shooting performances, the Terrapins only held a slim edge in overall field goal shooting percentage (48 as compared to 45) and three point accuracy (3-10 as compared to 2-13). When looking at perhaps the other most important statistic in the game, rebounding, Maryland outdid Virginia Tech yet again, but on a much grander scale. The Terrapins, considered as one of the better rebounding teams in the ACC, really took advantage of the Hokies' lack of size down low, out-boarding them by a considerable margin of 39-27.

Offensively for the Terrapins, Maryland senior forward Nik Caner-Medley was really able to shine, as he put up a smooth 23 points on a 9-for-14 shooting effort to go along with 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, and an assist. After having a quiet opening to the game, Caner-Medley's impressive shooting in the second half was the prime difference maker in putting away the Hokies.

When asked about Caner-Medley's performance, Dowdell said, ""He's a very versatile player. He can post you up, he's very strong, and he can shoot the ball. He's very hard to guard."

Coach Greenberg went on to add, "We really had a tough time matching up against him. He played with great intensity and he was tougher than us, especially in the second half."

With the loss, the Hokies fell to 10-8 on the season, and will look to improve upon their record this Thursday in a bitter rematch against the Blue Devils. Foregoing any game-winning, miracle half-court buzzer-beaters, this outing could serve as the Hokies first ACC win.

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