(Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Hokies continue winning ways, beat No. 15 Clemson 65-58

Leave a comment

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams admitted that he and his team only focus on increments of 24 hours.

“Just be consumed with today,” he said.

That approach certainly has been working.

Justin Robinson and Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 14 points each to lift the Hokies to a 65-58 victory over No. 15 Clemson on Wednesday night.

Robinson continued his stellar play of late, scoring in double figures for the 14th time in the past 15 games for the Hokies (20-8, 9-6 Atlatntic Coast Conference), who have won six of their last eight games and moved into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings. Blackshear struggled from the floor, but was 3 for 4 on free throws in the final 33 seconds to preserve the win.

“How we manage the next 24 hours emotionally, physically, mentally . that’s going to impact Saturday,” Williams said. “The same can be said for Friday. I’ve allowed our staff to kind of step in front me because they’re better at it than me at doing that more.

“I’ve kind of just tried to help give energy to our guys. Same thing in the game tonight. Very little strategy. Not a lot of technique. I thought we won the game because of energy, and I believe that will be the case if we win (Saturday).”

Virginia Tech, which won its third straight over the Tigers (20-7, 9-6), broke open a close game midway through the second half. The Hokies trailed 38-34 after Clemson’s Marcquise Reed hit a 3-pointer with 13:43 remaining, but they went on a 10-0 run punctuated by Ahmed Hill’s layup to take the lead for good.

The Hokies led by as many as 14 with 2:33 left before the Tigers put on a furious rally. They used an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 61-56 on a 3-pointer by Gabe DeVoe with 41 seconds remaining.

Virginia Tech scored the next four points — all from the free-throw line — with Blackshear making 3 of 4 and Chris Clarke 1 of 2, which was just enough as the Tigers missed three 3-pointers in the final 30 seconds.

“It’s a big step,” Robinson said of the win. “We got a win in front of fans. We kind of talked about it before the game. We’ve got more losses here (at home) this year than the last two. I think it’s something in our pride that we took care of tonight.”

Reed paced the cold-shooting Tigers, who now have lost three straight games, with a career-high 28 points, while Elijah Thomas had his eighth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Clemson shot just 38.6 percent from the floor (22 of 57).

“Both teams defended well and made it hard on each other to score,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “I thought our kids competed very well. We’re just struggling to score a little bit right now.”


Clemson: The Tigers are struggling at the worst possible time, and much of their troubles can be blamed on injuries. Donte Grantham (14.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is out for the season with a torn ACL and Shelton Mitchell (11.8 ppg, team-best 96 assists) missed his second straight game with a concussion. Clemson plays great defense, but with those two guys out, it needs another scorer to emerge to go with Reed.

“It’s hard,” Brownell said. “You’ve got guys playing a little bit different positions. I don’t want to take anything away from what Virginia Tech did because those guys played great. They played hard, and they cause a lot of problems. Other teams have injuries, too, but there’s no doubt we’re not the same team we were when we had Donte and Shelton.”

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are peaking at just the right time and have put themselves in great position to make the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year. Their win over the Tigers marked their third over a team in the top 10 of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and their fourth top-50 win.


Clemson did receive some good news while in Blacksburg, as the Tigers hope to get Mitchell, their starting point guard, back into the lineup for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

“Hopefully he’s going to be fine,” Brownell said. “I think he had a decent day down there (in Clemson). Obviously we’ll know more when he’s involved in more contact-type stuff.”


A big part of the game was the Hokies’ production off the bench. Virginia Tech got 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists from five bench players. In contrast, Clemson’s reserves failed to score and only grabbed one rebound.

“Honestly, I think they all need to play,” Williams said. “And I tell them, `Everybody’s playing.’ . I think (the production) speaks to the unity, to the togetherness, to the metamorphosis, to the narrative of how things thankfully going in the right direction.”


Clemson: The Tigers host Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Louisville on Saturday.

David Padgett not retained as Louisville coach

Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images
1 Comment

Louisville announced on Wednesday afternoon that interim head coach David Padgett would not be retained.

Padgett, who is 32 years old, stepped in and took the program over in the wake of a scandal that cost Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino his job.

“We all owe a great debt of gratitude to David for his leadership and poise this season,” said U of L Interim Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “He took over during incredible circumstances, has handled himself respectfully throughout the season and I believe he has a bright future in coaching. We expect to determine a new head coach in a short period to build upon the great basketball tradition of this university.”

Pitino was fired because an FBI complaint contained an allegation that he and his staff had arranged for a $100,000 payment to be funneled to Brian Bowen from Adidas.

In his one season with the Cardinals, Padgett went 22-14 and reached the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Louisville will now conduct a search for their next head coach, and current Xavier coach Chris Mack has long been considered the favorite to take that job.

Kansas State’s injured star hoping to play Thursday

David Becker/Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the most surprising parts about Kansas State’s run to the Sweet 16 is that they have done it without the services of their leading scorer, Dean Wade.

Wade injured his foot prior to the Big 12 tournament loss to Kansas. He did not play in that game or in either of Kansas State’s first two tournament games, but it is looking more and more like he’ll be on the floor on Thursday night when they play Kentucky.

“I don’t play percentages very well, but I’m feeling good,” Wade said, via SEC Country. “I’m very positive about it. It’s getting better every day and today I felt great out there, doing a little more than usual. It felt good.”

Wade averaged 16.5 points per game, but the big question is going to be whether or not he is actually healthy when he takes the court. Just because he’s on the floor doesn’t mean he’s at 100 percent.

“Really just trying to get it out of my mind that it’s not hurt,” Wade said. “Just more of a mental thing, just getting out there and running around. I think I got moved past that and it’s feeling better.”

Arizona’s Sean Miller: ‘I am not a candidate’ at Pitt

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

With speculation mounting about who Pitt will hire to replace Kevin Stallings as their new head coach, current Arizona head coach Sean Miller released a statement saying that he is not in the running to fill the opening.

“I am not a candidate for the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. I wish them well in their search for a new coach,” the statement read.

Miller is a native of Pittsburgh and an alumni of the school — he’s the guy that had the assist on Jerome Lane’s famous dunk — and with the issues that are currently swirling around him and the Arizona program, there was speculation that he was looking for an escape plan.

Maybe he wasn’t.

Maybe he was and the Pitt administration decided they couldn’t risk hiring someone who had an assistant coach arrested in the FBI’s sweep of college basketball and who himself may be on wiretaps talking about who knows what. Releasing this statement would then be a way for him to save face and say he was never interested.

And then maybe there’s option No. 3: Pitt has won the Dan Hurley sweepstakes.

As it stands, both the Panthers and UConn are in the process of chasing after the Rhode Island head coach, and it’s not uncommon in coaching searches for a coach to announce that he is not a candidate for the job after the job decides they want someone else. Call it a professional courtesy.

But that’s neither here nor there.

What we do know now is that Sean Miller will not be the next head coach at Pitt.

Report: Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson suffers another fracture in foot

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
1 Comment

Bonzie Colson rushed back from a broken foot to try and help his Notre Dame team get into the NCAA tournament this season.

They were bumped out of the field when Davidson upset Rhode Island and earned the Atlantic 10’s third bid to the league tournament. The Fighting Irish were NIT bound, and in their second round loss to Penn State late last week, Colson reinjured the left foot that held him out of action for eight weeks.

On Wednesday, Yahoo reported that Colson suffered another fracture in the foot.

“I’m sitting there and he’s limping off and I’m going, ‘You gotta be kidding me,’” coach Mike Brey said after the game. “Everything we’ve been through? I thought we were out of the woods with him.”

There was a poignant moment at the end of the game.

Colson’s injury came during the third quarter. He returned to the bench at Purcell Pavilion with ice on his foot after going into the locker room. With 30 seconds left and a loss imminent, Colson walked right past Mike Brey, said “I’m going in”, and finished his college career on the court.

Colson is a potential second round pick. He was an all-american last year and a preseason selection this year. He was averaging 19.7 points, 10.2 boards and 2.2 blocks when he was injured.

N.C. State star to consider turning pro and transferring

Lance King/Getty Images
1 Comment

It appears as it Omer Yurtseven’s time as a member of the N.C. State Wolfpack will be coming to a close.

On Wednesday morning, the program issued a release announcing that Yurtseven has “expressed his intentions to either pursue a professional career or consider transferring.”

Yurtseven, who was initially recruited by Mark Gottfried, averaging 14.9 points in his first season under new Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts while also shooting 46 percent from three. Yurtseven is projected as a second round-at-best pick in the NBA Draft.

Keatts announced that he would grant Yurtseven a release if it comes to that.