Sunday, January 15, 2006

Cavs Survive Hokies, Fans and win 54-49

In big games, big players step up.

Sean Singletary lives for moments like that and he did not disappoint. With the Hokies making a huge 10-0 run Singletary responded with 6 straight points (at one point he scored 11 straight points for Virginia), keeping the Cavaliers from falling apart like they were prone to do in the past. Sean redeemed himself for two earlier turnovers when the Hokies were on the ropes, down 39-33. A technical foul by VT head coach Seth Greenburg and his imploring the fans turned the entire game and momentum around in the Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies, who had struggled offensively all game long, kicked it into an extra gear that the Cavaliers had no answer for least those who were not Sean. Singletary kept them in it, the defense kept the Hokies from pulling away and Adrian Joseph made the difference, hitting a huge three-pointer with 44 seconds left to make it a 52-49 advantage for the Cavaliers and cap an 11 point performance by the sophomore. The Hokies would miss a three-pointer but then got a held ball with the inbounds pass. On the second chance, Virginia Tech would miss again and freshman forward Mamadi Diane pulled down the biggest rebound of the game, fouled with 7.4 seconds left. Despite the great play, Diane's work was not done. Having to make the free throws, the true freshman Diane drilled both making a 5-point cushion and insuring a huge road victory in the ACC. Virginia only won one road game last year at N.C. State. The win takes Virginia to 8-6 on the season and 2-2 in the ACC. The loss keeps the Virginia Tech Hokies winless in the ACC at 0-4 and 10-7 for the year.

The stars came out again for the Charlottesville faithful as Singletary and junior G J.R. Reynolds both scored 16 points a piece. Jason Cain had modest numbers (7 points and 6 rebounds) but a tremendous impact by getting his hands on the ball, deflecting passes and most importantly, keeping Hokie star Coleman Collins from going off in the paint. Collins ended the game with 14 points, second only to PG Zabian Dowdell. The defense was tremendous for the Cavaliers all game long, holding Virginia Tech to 33% shooting from the field and .143 from behind the arc. The problem however was a big one, and it was turnovers. Virginia committed way too many turnovers, 21 to be exact, and the Hokies capitalized on them. It is something head coach Dave Leitao must make a note of and emphasize ball control as the ACC season continues. The victory is as big for the Cavaliers as it devastating for the Hokies. Last year everything went right for the boys of Blacksburg, finishing 4th in the conference and getting an NIT bid. This year, at 0-4 the Hokies have been cut down by a miracle shot from Duke's Sean Dockery and close calls against FSU and a tough loss to UNC where they caused 25 turnovers.

Next up for Virginia are the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Heels are currently ranked 20th in the nation but will probably fall out after a loss to Miami at home this weekend. UNC was completely decimated by offseason defection to the NBA, but a strong freshman class and veterans stepping up have caused the Tar Heels to be right in the mix for ACC position. Nevertheless, this is not the same team that humiliated Virginia last year at home in the game that may have been the nail in former coach Pete Gillen's coffin. Virginia would have to play extremely well, but Virginia has shown against teams like Gonzaga that they can hang with the big boys. At home Virginia has a chance, and to take the program to the next level. A win over a team like UNC could do just that.


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