|Xavier 77, Virginia Tech 66
Saturday, January 17th, 1998
|HokieCentral's Game Report
The Hokies concluded a two-game Ohio road trip with a loss to Xavier in Cincinnati.
Once again, Tech was never in this one. The Hokies started out in nightmare fashion and were down 25-6 at one point and had served up 8 or 9 turnovers to the Xavier press. At that point, the game was over, and although the Hokies came back and competed and outscored Xavier 60-52 from that point on, I don't take much solace in that. Bobby Hussey, Bill Roth, and Mike Burnop sounded somewhat upbeat after the game, but I saw nothing positive in this loss. I would be more positive if the Hokies had played Xavier to a 25-25 tie and then outscored them 60-52 the rest of the way.
Tech isn't just losing, folks, they're losing ugly. The Hokies had 24 turnovers in this game, they gave up 17 offensive rebounds to Xavier (and Xavier only missed 35 shots, which means they got back every other miss), and I thought at one point that if I heard Bill Roth say that one more Xavier shot was an uncontested layup, I was going to scream. To give some indication of how this game went, the Hokies fouled a Xavier player who was shooting a three-pointer two different times. That's the third and fourth times they've done that in the last three games.
I'm not impressed with this 11-point loss, because I thought Xavier played poor, undisciplined, stupid basketball. They should have just sewn patches on their jerseys that said, "We're begging to be upset. Please beat us." With a big 43-28 half time lead, the Musketeers came out in the second half and chucked up a bunch of three-pointers, going 1-12 in the second half from the arc. To jack up an unending stream of three-pointers when you're killing the other team is just stupid, and it was indicative of how undisciplined Xavier was in this game.
Don't get me wrong - the Hokies are a young team, and they'll get better at this scenario. It's extremely difficult to play well on the road against a talented team like Xavier that presses the entire game, so from that standpoint, the loss wasn't exactly unexpected. But to smile afterwards and say, "Hey, not bad!" is something I'm not inclined to do, because Xavier didn't play well, and everything they got, the Hokies gave to them. Xavier did not get the best effort this Tech team is capable of, by far, and it was a victory that in my opinion, Xavier didn't earn. It was handed to them.
This game had a near-fight break out late in the first half between Rolan Roberts and James Posey of Xavier (that's what I wrote down - the paper said the Xavier player was Payne, so it was one of the two). The two players flung each other around a little bit during play, and then the refs came in and tackled Rolan to break it up. Myron Guillory got into the middle of it and jawed at Posey a little bit, and order was barely restored. The next few minutes were touch and go as Roberts and Posey both stayed in the game and the refs let the two teams play physical.
A couple of minutes later, Rolan squared off with Braggs of Xavier, the refs called a double technical, and that pretty much put an end to the festivities.
As Bill Roth said, I'm looking forward to the Valentine's Day rematch in Cassell. If Xavier comes into Blacksburg and plays as poorly as they did in this game, they could be in for a tougher battle. But only if the Hokies improve and learn not to get blown out of the game in the first ten minutes.
I'll leave you to peruse the USA Today stats. Note the good statistical outings by Roberts, Wheeler, and Dunlop (yo, Bobby - when does Brendan get to start?).
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