|Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 55|
|HokieCentral's Game Report
Warning! Heavy sarcasm ahead!
Oh, yeah, this was real fun. I left the New River Valley for Roanoke good and early, and right at the exit to get off 581, traffic bogged down to a standstill. 40 minutes later, I had traveled maybe half a mile and had found parking on a side street.
As I turned the car off, Bill Roth was breaking for the first TV time out. Oh, yeah, I was real happy about that. I had paid $20 for my ticket, and thanks to the Roanoke Coliseum's infamous lack of ability to manage traffic flow, I had already missed $2 worth of the game.
So I ran from my car to the Coliseum, and with my trusty ticket, purchased from the Tech ticket office, in hand, I went down on the floor and took my seat in the second row of the bleachers behind the basket. Guess what was in front of me, as I sat in my seat with my ticket that was purchased from the Tech ticket office? The UVa cheerleaders! It only took about two minutes of trying to see the game through their megaphones, and two more minutes of watching them cheer every time UVa did something good at this Tech "home game," for me to figure out that there was no way I was going to sit behind the UVa cheerleaders using a $20 ticket that I had purchased from the Tech ticket office.
So my cohorts and I moved from our lousy Tech seats behind the UVa cheerleaders and took up residence in six of the approximately 4000 empty seats in the Roanoke Coliseum. Thanks to the thousands of Tech and UVa fans who had more brains than I, there were plenty of empty seats, because unlike me, most sane human beings won't pay double the normal price to go see a "home" basketball game on a neutral floor.
So there I was, grumpy and still breathing heavy, and there were 12 minutes left to go in the first half of a game in which I had yet to actually see one minute of play. Only $16 worth of basketball game remained, with the first $4 down the toilet.
I looked down on the basketball floor. No Rolan Roberts. No Russ Wheeler.
"Where are Russ and Rolan?" I asked a buddy.
"They're out. Both of them have two fouls," was the answer.
Game over, folks.
For the next 32 minutes, UVa proceeded to thrash the Hokies in every phase of the game. Russ and Rolan sat on the bench for the rest of the first half. Having arrived late, due to the moronic traffic management of the Roanoke Coliseum officials, I didn't even see Russ and Rolan step on the floor until the beginning of the second half.
What I did get to see a lot of was UVa's Colin Ducharme, who for the second year in a row, pushed, elbowed, fouled, kicked, and dunked his way through the Hokies. And yes, I said kicked - you should have seen that one. Everybody was Kung Fu fighting, or at least, Colin was, at one point.
Once again, Ducharme, an average ball player at best, managed to look like an NBA lottery pick against Tech. I've seen as much of that guy as I ever want to see, and since I'm never going to attend one of these neutral site games again in my life, I think the problem is solved.
UVa outrebounded Tech 42-24. UVa outshot Tech from the free throw line, 30-35 to 12-19. The Cavaliers totally dominated the physical aspect of the game, continuously pushing the Hokies out of the way and scoring and rebounding at will.
My friends and I were pretty irate at the reffing, which from a foul standpoint, looked pretty one-sided in favor of the Hoos. Tech had 25 fouls and UVa had 19, and it seemed as if the Hoos were getting away with pushing the Hokies all over the place.
And you know what? They were. UVa made the game physical by bodying up to the Hokies and pushing them around, which the refs weren't calling. Tech made the game physical by slapping at the Hoos, which the refs were calling. When Ducharme repeatedly went over the backs of Tech players for rebounds, it was not called, but if a Tech player got their hands near a loose ball, a foul was called. It was that kind of night. One day, these Hokies will learn to play defense with their feet and their bodies instead of their hands, and nights like this won't happen very often.
But until then, I'm going to have nightmares of Colin Ducharme (16 points, 9 boards) and Norman Nolan (20 points, 11 boards) having their way with the Hokies underneath. Ducharme and Nolan were more than enough to offset a horrible night by Roanoke Times favorite Curtis Staples, who coughed his way to a 1-7 performance from behind the arc (yet still managed to tie Tech's leading scorer, Jenis Grindstaff, with 13 points).
Please check out the stats by clicking on the link below, if you can stomach them. Me, I'm out of here. I've got to go write a letter to Jim Weaver and tell him that I'm not going to see another Tech/UVa basketball game in person until it's in Blacksburg - in Cassell Coliseum. They're not getting $20 out of me again so I can sit in traffic and listen to the first part of the game on the radio. Even this Hokie fan has his limits.
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