By Zach Mariner and Adam Norman, sports staff
Well if that wasn’t a snoozer of a game, then I’ve never seen one.
The Hokies came out strong early on, going up on Monmouth 21-9 less than nine minutes into the game, and we’re then up 27-12 before the eight-minute mark in the first half.
Fifth-year senior Dorenzo Hudson led the way early, finishing with 12 first-half points, including two easy buckets that resulted from steals. He shot five of eight from the field and added two assists before the break.
Erick Green also looked good, playing in his first game of the year after sitting out the team’s win last Saturday with an achilles injury. Green had 11 points to go along with 5 assists while playing just 23 minutes.
The team took a 42-24 lead into the half, and that was before they had really started playing.
They outscored the Hawks 49-22 in the second half, behind impressive performances from some of their up-and-coming stars, including sophomore Tyrone Garland and freshman Robert Brown.
Garland scored 15 points in the second half, and finished with 18 on the night. He put up 11 points in a two-minute span towards the end of the game, slicing and dicing his way through the Monmouth defense en route to a career-high. He was also seven of seven from the field.
Brown led all scorers with 19 points, including 17 in the second half. He also had three assists to go along with a perfect six of six from the free-throw line.
Head coach Seth Greenberg’s young team is really coming along in a hurry. Despite some foul troubles and mental errors early on, they looked like a complete team for the most part.
Follow Zach on Twitter (@ZMarinerCT).
Here’s some more of what Greenberg and his team had to say following their 91-46 victory over the Monmouth Hawks.
Photo courtesy of Brad Klodowski, SPPS
OPENING STATEMENT: “I was pleased with the way we played. I thought we were pretty active and alert, I thought that getting Erick in the game, just getting his feet wet was really important. But, (Dorenzo) was really himself, he made some terrific decisions in transition, he was alert defensively, he let things come to him, I thought that was really positive for us.
“On a night (Dorian Finney-Smith) wasn’t obviously his best, but I think a microcapsule of who he is, we played him through those four fouls in the second half. He catches it on a post-up deep in the basket, (they) come to double him and he knocks a pass to Brown for a three. That’s kind of a reflection of who he is, he doesn’t get caught up in points, he just wants to play the game the right way.
“Didn’t think we rebounded the ball all that well though, again, we were able to rest some guys. (Victor Davila) and (Cadarian Raines) were extremely active which was what we needed today. (CJ Barksdale) did a nice job rebounding the ball, he just has to get a little more physical, a little bit tougher, and Robert Brown he never saw a shot he didn’t like and made buckets. Overall I’m just happy we got through it with no injuries. (Green) was okay, he will have some treatment after, and hopefully he’ll be good to go tomorrow.”
HAVING DORENZO HUDSON BACK: “He really has been an absolute pleasure. I can’t even describe how wonderful it is to be in practice with him every day. He gives you his best effort every day, he tries to lead, he says all the right things, he’s not chasing shots, he’s letting the game come to him. He improved dramatically in terms of finding ways to get other people involved in the game.
“He’s just a really good player, and he’s playing with a lot of confidence. I think having (Green) with him, obviously, took a little pressure off of him, but more important, is how he’s been for him to do that losing (JT Thompson), you know, let’s face it, those guys were so close. I’m just really proud about how he’s playing.
“I mean, he’s competing hard defensively, the plays he made on the breaks, giving the ball off at the right time, on target, not forcing things, cutting hard, I mean, he’s our best cutter no doubt. He sets up cuts, he finishes cuts, and he’s shooting the ball well, and even though he missed that first jumper badly in the corner, he continued to play through that. I mean, I’m really pleased with the way he’s playing.”
THE TEAM’S OFFENSIVE PERFORMANCE: “I think we’re a good shooting team. I mean, obviously, we were really good today from the three-point (line). We’ve got guys that can make shots, I mean (Brown) can make shots, (Hudson) can make shots.
We’ve gotta play with a little bit better spacing, and when we drive it, we can’t drive it sideways, we’ve gotta drive it into the lane and force people to help so we can get guys shots, you know we play too much on the sideline. And we didn’t come off those ball screens very hard, if we come off those ball screens hard and get a little action off that, we’d be better.”
HOW HE FELT PLAYING AGAIN: “It’s been 10 days since I touched a ball, so it felt real good to be back out there.”
HOW THEY WERE ABLE TO IMPROVE FROM YESTERDAY’S PERFORMANCE: “I think we got back to Virginia Tech basketball. I think we got back to running, but one thing I think we need to work on is rebounding. But, I think when it comes to transition, we got a lot of transition game, and I think that’s how we should play more often.”
HIS IMPROVED SHOT FORM: “Yeah, it’s improved a lot and I’ve been getting shots up with all the coaches help, just putting the extra work in. First shot, I’m not gonna lie, I was a little hesitant, cause it was a three. But it felt good, it went right in.”
BEATING GEORGE MASON OR FIU AND ADVANCING TO THE SEMIFINALS OF THE NIT SEASON TIP-OFF IN NEW YORK CITY: “It’s a huge thing. Individually, I really wanna go to (Madison Square Garden). That’s a dream come true. And the team, we haven’t been for what, four years? And I think that this year we can change that.”
PREPARING FOR THIS GAME: “I think our coaches did a great job scouting. I think we were gonna come out and know they were gonna come out and might trap a little bit, and do a lot of subs, and we did a lot of backdoor cuts and stuff like that, so I felt like we did a very good job of scouting.”
HIS ROLE ON THIS TEAM: “I mean, my role for this team is to try to do anything to win. I’m more of the vocal leader on the team, so I know what I need to do to get the guys ready to play.”
TOMORROW’S GAME AGAINST EITHER FIU OR GEORGE MASON: “It’s a big game; the next game is the most important game for us right now, but I feel like our mindset needs to be getting to the Garden tomorrow.”
WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO GO TO MSG: “It would be good, but we need to worry about the next team we play. But, getting to the Garden would be a good thing, but we need to focus on the next game tomorrow.”
HAVING ERICK GREEN BACK: “I just feel like he’s more about getting in transition than Ty. I feel like he’s more comfortable in transition. But, like I said, Ty did a great job (Saturday) night getting us into offense and doing his best. He played us forty minutes of zone, it’s a little bit of a different feel compared to Saturday night.”
THE TEAM’S QUICK START: “It felt good getting the ball swung around. I was able to knock down a few shots and put my team up, it felt good.”
THE TEAM GETTING INTO FOUL TROUBLE EARLY ON: “We’ve gotta try and play with less hands, like keep our hands off players. We gotta rebound better, cause when they get offensive rebounds, we’re stuck. We’re put on our heels, and that’s what leads to fouls. I mean, it might be a little bit of the inexperience, but it also come down to rebounds and playing better defense.”