March 12, 2011
Tech falls to Duke 77-63 in ACC Tournament
By Jimmy Robertson
Virginia Tech (21-11, 9-7) 283563
(5) Duke (29-4, 13-3) 393877
  • Greensboro Coliseum, Game #10 - 23,381
  • High Points: 19 - Malcolm Delaney
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Jeff Allen

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Malcolm Delaney scored 19 points, but the Hokies struggled shooting from the floor and succumbed to the No. 5 Duke Blue Devils 77-63 in an ACC Tournament semifinal game played Saturday afternoon at Greensboro Coliseum.

With the loss, the Hokies fell to 21-11 on the season. They’ll find out their postseason fate on Sunday night when the NCAA Tournament pairings are released.

“We can’t control that,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “It’s out of our hands. We’re hoping for the best. We’re proud of our body of work, but certain things are out of our control. I would hope that this team presented itself in a manner that they would be given an opportunity. But again, we don’t have any say in that.”

“I think we have a good resumé,” Delaney said. “I think if people watched our team, with the limited numbers we had and everything we went through, they would know we’d be one of the top teams to get in the tournament. But I won’t believe it until our name is called. I’m not going to bed thinking we’re in. I’m going to think the worst and hopefully we’ll come out with the best tomorrow.”

Duke (29-4), which advanced to Sunday’s championship game against rival North Carolina, broke open a close game midway through the first half, using a 12-2 run to take a 26-16 lead on Nolan Smith’s 3-pointer with 7:34 remaining in the half. The Blue Devils led by as many as 11 on three occasions in the first half, the final time coming when Seth Curry drained a 3-pointer right before halftime to give Duke a 39-28 lead at the break.

The Hokies, who beat Duke 64-60 on Feb. 26 when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1, cut the lead to 41-35 early in the second half on an Erick Green basket with 17:52 remaining, but they got no closer. Kyle Singler scored after Green’s basket, and after a Delaney turnover, the Blue Devils extended their lead to 10 on two free throws by Curry with 16:52 left. Tech got to single digits just one time after that.

“We had chances to get back in the game,” Greenberg said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump. We had a couple of scoring opportunities, but we weren’t able to make shots. I thought we competed hard, but we didn’t play as well as we had been playing, and you’ve got to give them some credit for that.”

Smith showed no ill effects of an injured toe suffered in Duke’s quarterfinal win over Maryland. The senior scored a game-high 27 points, hitting 8 of 16 from the floor. Singler and Curry both finished in double figures as well, scoring 13 and 10, respectively. Singler also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Hokies made just 36.8 percent of their shots from the floor and made just 2 of 16 from beyond the 3-point arc. Delaney led Tech in scoring, but made just 4 of 14 from the floor. He did go 10 for 10 from the free-throw line and grabbed six rebounds.

Green finished with 17 points for the Hokies, hitting 7 of 16 from the floor (1 of 6 from beyond the arc). Victor Davila added 11 points for Tech. Jeff Allen, though, spent most of the game in foul trouble and scored just two points before fouling out with 6:29 left.

Barring something unforeseen, Tech will be making its fifth straight postseason appearance and sixth in the past seven seasons – all under Greenberg.

“I’m proud of what these kids gave been able to accomplish throughout the season, not just in the [ACC] tournament,” Greenberg said. “The body of work they’ve been able to put together over the course of the season … it’s pretty incredible to me. They’re resilient and tough and face adversity as a challenge and embrace it.

“Every time people have thought they didn’t have anything left, they’ve come back and dug down inside themselves and found a way to get something done. Right to the bitter end. That was pretty impressive to me.

“I’m proud what they were able to accomplish and hopefully we’ll have more to accomplish in the future.”

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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