Virginia Tech Rallies for 79-70 Win Over Navy in BB&T Classic
Dec. 7, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Virginia Tech outscored Navy, 51-36, in the second half and held off every Navy charge in the second half to defeat the Midshipmen, 79-70, in the first game of the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center on Sunday. The loss snaps Navy's seven-game winning streak and drops the Mids' record to 7-2 overall. The Hokies improve to 5-3 on the season.
Navy led 34-28 at halftime, but saw the Hokies shoot 62.5 percent from the field in the second half, as Virginia Tech rallied for the victory.
"First off, I want to thank John Feinstein for this event. It was a great opportunity for us and one that we enjoyed being a part of," said Navy head coach Billy Lange. "You have to credit Virginia Tech for coming back the way they did. We don't believe in moral victories, so we will look at the film and find out what we need to work on and keep getting better."
The Hokies placed four players in double figures, led by Malcolm Delaney's 21 points. All-ACC performers Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo added 17 points each, but the Navy defense held Vassallo to just 5-of-18 shooting and forced him into six turnovers.
"I don't think their depth and athleticism affected us that much," said Lange. "They spread us out some in the second half and were looking to drive every chance they got. We got out of our basic defensive principles and it hurt us some. We need to not let the moment get too big and develop a little stronger second-half mentality in games like that. It's a learning experience and we will get better from it."
The lead flip-flopped back and forth in the first six minutes as Navy led 10-9 on a Mark Veazey lay-up with 13:47 to play. However, the Mids went scoreless for the next four minutes and Virginia Tech went on an 11-0 run to grab a 20-10 lead with 9:40 to play.
Navy responded with an 11-0 run of its own to grab a 21-20 advantage with 7:11 to play. Virginia Tech took its last lead of the half at 24-23, but Navy ended the first half on an 11-4 spurt to lead 34-28 at halftime. The Mids held the Hokies to just 30.0 percent (9-of-30) from the field and had just four turnovers to Virginia Tech's 11.
However, the turning point in the contest came early in the second half. Navy had defensive stops on Virginia Tech's first two possessions, but the Hokies corralled loose-ball rebounds and converted them into points to trim the Navy lead to 34-32. Romeo Garcia briefly stopped the momentum with a pull-up jumper to push the lead back to 36-32, but the Hokies then embarked on a 17-1 run over almost four minutes to take a 49-37 advantage with 14:03 to play.
The lead would stay between seven and 13 points for most of the second half, before Navy had one last run in them. Trailing 69-60 with 2:07 to play, Chris Harris cut the lead to six at 69-63 with 1:50 to play with his second three-pointer of the game. After two Virginia Tech free throws pushed the lead back to eight at 71-63, Adam Teague made his fourth thre-pointer of the contest to cut the margin to five. The Hokies again made two more free throws to bump the lead to 73-66, but Harris' three with 39 seconds left trimmed the advantage to four at 73-69.
Virginia Tech, however, would salt the game away at the free throw line, making six free throws in the last 39 seconds for the 79-70 victory.
"We just don't understand the value fully of an offensive possession yet," said Lange. "We made some mistakes offensively in our execution down the stretch. We just lacked some execution in the second half and became too stationary. They played with a lot more urgency in the second half. We knew they would come out and play like that and we didn't fully adjust."
Kaleo Kina led Navy with his second career double-double, scoring 18 points with 10 rebounds, six assists and three steals. Adam Teague added 18 points off the bench. Chris Harris and Romeo Garcia added nine and eight points, respectively.
"We didn't come out in the second half the way we needed to get the job done tonight," said Kina. "It's a long season and this is a great learning experience. We have to play a full 40 minutes. If we don't do that, especially against a great team like Virginia Tech, it will cost us.
"We obviously wanted to win and will learn from this," said Kina. "We'll take it for what it was and get ready for Mount St. Mary's on Tuesday night."
Navy shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the field and 27.6 (8-of-29) from the three-point line. Navy was just 10-of-15 (.667) from the free throw line, while Virginia Tech was 29-of-34 (.853). The Hokies also outrebounded Navy, 45-28, but had 16 turnovers to Navy's 11. The Mids had 15 assists on 26 made field goals.
Navy will now play its fourth day in an eight-day span and third in five days on Tuesday night at Mount St. Mary's, before breaking for final exams. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm in Emmitsburg, Md.
"If we are ever fortunate to play in the NCAA Tournament, it would be the same type of schedule. It's been tough, but it's early in the year and our legs are still with us," said Lange. "I know this is kind of anti-coach talk, but we would rather play games than practice. We learn a lot more playing games than in practice. We will be ready to go on Tuesday night against a very good Mount St. Mary's team."
# GO NAVY #