If there’s a clear-cut loser during this year’s Tip-Off Marathon, then it’s West Virginia.
The Mountaineers blew a double-digit first-half lead to lose at Virginia Tech 87-82, despite the Hokies missing suspended starting forward C.J. Barksdale.
This is a really bad loss for a West Virginia team hoping to compete in the top-half of the Big 12 this season as they lost to one of the ACC’s worst teams without its starting forward.
West Virginia led 29-10 before squandering its big lead and falling behind 54-45 in the second half as Virginia Tech mounted a furious comeback behind a 44-16 run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half.
For Virginia Tech, it’s a confidence-boosting home win for a team searching for an early-season identity.
Sophomore Adam Smith knocked in some big shots down the stretch to finish with 19 points and freshman Ben Emelogu chipped in 20 points off the bench, so if those two and some others can get some consistent scoring around Barksdale, the Hokies could scare some people in the ACC.
West Virginia needs to figure out it’s offensive identity, as at times they looked stagnant, and point guard Juwan Staten will have to shoot better than 3-for-12 from the field if they hope to right the ship before Big 12 play.