Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hokie Basketball Recap - Miami 70, Virginia Tech 59

While I've been posting basketball features for the Collegiate Times (which are put on this site), another writer on the staff with whom I work, Charles R. Barrineau, has been busy writing about the team as well. I will be posting his previews as well as recaps from now on. Here is his piece regarding the Miami game last night.

Road loss leaves staff disappointed
February 22nd, 2006
by Charles R. Barrineau, Senior Staff Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The University of Miami men's basketball team snapped its four game losing streak against Virginia Tech in a 70-59 contest Wednesday evening leaving the Hokie coaching staff rather disappointed after the game.

"I can't imagine us playing any worse, any less inspired, any softer than I just witnessed just now ... It was the most embarrassing effort I've ever been associated with as a coach," said head coach Seth Greenberg. "Right now, the toughness and competitive spirit of our team is embarrassing ... But it will change, I don't know when, but it will."

Noticeably absent from the starting lineup was Tech's starting backcourt tandem of Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon, both natives of Florida, as well as junior center Coleman Collins, who recently attended the funeral of his father who passed away last week. All three entered the game at the 14:08 mark of the first half.

Dowdell and Gordon were removed from the starting lineup for just the second time this season due to what Greenberg referred to as a lack of fulfillment of obligations to the team.

A 13-0 Hurricanes run spanning exactly four minutes during the middle part of the first half had the Hokies down 15 points and left Tech drained.

Due in part to that run, the 'Canes were able to carry a 39-27 lead into the halftime intermission.

A major contributor to Miami's halftime advantage was its 55.6 shooting percentage and its ability to shoot perfect from the free-throw line during the period.

The tone of the second half began on a different note as the Hokies went on a 9-0 run of their own after spotting the Hurricanes a basket.

Dowdell brought the Hokies to within two points on a rare four point play. He and freshman A.D. Vassallo finished with a team-high 15 points.

Junior forward Deron Washington was at the free-throw line twice in the second half with opportunities to cut into the Miami lead, but was unable to sink the front end of a one-and-one leaving up to four points on the floor.

Free-throws doomed the Hokies once again this season, as they shot 58.9 percent as a team from the line -- going into the game, Tech was shooting just under 66 percent from the line.

"(It's tough) When your best player goes 2-for-7 from the free throw line and we're back at the line and miss the front end (of a one and one) two times in a row," Greenberg said.

Tech had the Miami lead cut to four, 55-51, in the second half before a crucial 9-1 'Canes run that broke the game open for good.

In many respects the game was a microcosm of Tech's season; right when it looked like the ball might bounce the Hokies' way, things began to foil and Tech watched its chances of winning fade away.

"We tried to hit too many homeruns, not enough singles," Greenberg said.

For Miami, guard Guillermo Diaz set a season high for points on the night with 29.

"He was good. We've done a good job the last two times defending him. We didn't do a very good job today," Greenberg said. "He makes tough shots. He actually makes tough shots more than he makes catch-and-shoots. He's quick ... they screen for him. You know, he got it going today."

The Hokies have off until Saturday night when they host the Florida State University Seminoles at 7 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum.

Until then, the Hokies will have several days to reflect on their letdown performance in Coral Gables.

"I know one thing, we will have a spirited practice tomorrow," Greenberg said. "It might be without basketballs, but it will be spirited."

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