By Matt Jones, sports editor
The Hokies are heading to New York City.
It sounds more glamorous than it probably is, as Big East powerhouse Syracuse awaits.
Erick Green is a little banged up with an Achilles injury, which could affect the Hokies chances of pulling a massive upset in Madison Square Garden. Freshman Dorian Finney-Smith played 34 minutes and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double in this young season. His teammate Dorenzo Hudson, who has been through the battles in the ACC, also played 34 minutes and finished with 31 points.
Here’s what the players and their coach had to say following the game.
OPENING STATEMENT: “I’m really proud of our guys, I really am. We had some setbacks, and we remained poised when Erick went out. I thought Dorenzo in the first half passed on his shot fake, put it down on the floor and took a harder shot than he should’ve had. I just grabbed him and said, ‘Room and rhythm, you got to jump up and make that shot.’ Then I think he made about four or five in a row, that was big”
ON VICTOR DAVILA: “Best game Victor’s played in a while, I thought he attacked and pursued the basketball. He finished, he was active defensively. I thought in the first half our defense was really good in terms of bodying and getting under those ball screens, keeping their penetration in front”
ON THE DEFENSE: “We were a tad bit dysfunctional when they started switching, we didn’t handle that well, we had some lineups that really didn’t execute, but I really liked the way we came out at the beginning of the second half and then when Erick went down, I thought we had good ownership of the team.”
ON FINNEY-SMITH: “Doe-Doe is Doe-Doe, he affects the game in so many different ways. He’s still got to be stronger with the ball. In the first half, we probably left six to eight points on the floor.”
ON HEADING TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: “It’s for sure an accomplishment. It’s an accomplishment to play three games in four days with such a young team, remain poised. You lose your point guard leader and still remain poised. It’s an accomplishment that we’re getting these young guys minutes and they’re performing at a good level. We’re getting leadership from a limited number of upperclassmen that we have.”
ON WHERE THE TEAM IS NOW: “In this time of the year, it’s the process. You want the result, but it’s the process. The process is 1) you’re going to get tired and it’s going to be hard. At this time of the year it’s all about getting better.”
ON HIS SCORING RUN LATE IN THE FIRST HALF: “I did what I needed to do for this team. I didn’t really take the challenge to put the team on my back, our guys just did a good job of finding me in the first half and I was just knocking down shots.”
ON HIS BODY THREE GAMES INTO THE SEASON: “I feel like last night not playing as much, it helped my body a lot to come ready to play. At the same time, I feel like we just need to keep playing.”
ON THE WEEK LAYOFF BEFORE PLAYING SYRACUSE: “Get the guy’s healthy. Three games in four days, it’s tough on everybody. We just have to do some scouting, let the coaches do their job, and get ready to play the game.”
ON HIS INJURY: “I just put all my weight back on it in the 2-3 zone trying to plant, and I felt it go back to how it was. I just called it off, because I didn’t want to risk putting more pressure on it or hurting it. We were up in the lead, so I thought we’d be all right.”
ON THE LAYOFF: “It’s going to be nice for everybody to get their bodies rested, and mentally. Go to New York, have a little fun before we get down to business. We’re definitely going to take care of business.”
ON GETTING THE BALL INSIDE: “We were settling too much in the first half. Once we started getting the ball inside, then working our way outside. We had a lot of open looks, but I think we needed to stop settling for the three and get to mid-range or down low.”
ON IF HE WOULD’VE PLAYED HAD THE GAME BEEN CLOSER: “I would’ve sucked it up and went out there and do what I have to do to get the team through it. The team didn’t really need me out there for that one, they did a great job and handled it on their own.”