Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
After upsetting Michigan State, Virginia Tech came down to earth in a massive way last night falling to a should be ranked Dayton team 89-62 with Flyers star Obi Toppin showing why he should easily be a first round pick in next summer's NBA Draft.
Here's a few thoughts from last night's loss to Dayton.
1. Virginia Tech's Youth Finally Caught Up
It was inevitable that the Hokies' youth would catch up with them at some point and it did last night as the Hokies weren't able to come off the emotional high of upsetting Michigan State.
Wabissa Bede mentioned after the game how he felt the Hokies didn't have the same energy that they brought against Michigan State.
"We just came out with bad energy, I kind of felt it from like the layup line our energy was kind of low, we weren't as upbeat as yesterday. We knew how good they were and we knew they were a great team and they came out with fight from the first media timeout," Bede said.
For a young team, it's hard to know the challenges of getting up for a game after expending as much energy as Tech did until you experience it. That's what happened to Tech yesterday and while they did put up a respectable fight, it was clear that they were a little emotionally spent.
It showed on the defensive end especially as an efficient Dayton team was extremely efficient against the Hokies shooting 63.6% from the field. More than that, it showed how the Hokies were caught sleeping at times as a veteran Dayton team even turned made buckets by Tech into transition or transition-like possessions that helped the Flyers explode for an impressive 87-point game.
However, if there's a time for them to learn this inevitable lesson, there couldn't be a better time than now when Tech has already exceeded expectations in Maui. Yes, Tech will have days between games every other time of the year, but learning now how to keep their energy up after big games is critical for success in the talented ACC.
There's no doubt that those inside the Tech locker room are definitely disappointed about the loss but in the long run, the lessons proved from this should prove valuable even if they may not realize it now.
2. Landers Nolley Handles Foul Trouble Well
Mike Young knows he needs Landers Nolley on the floor as much as possible and while he tried to keep him off for a few minutes early in the first half after Nolley picked up a pair of early fouls, Young brought his star scorer back in the game before the 10 minute mark.
That was undoubtedly a risk as a third foul would almost certainly force Young to bench Nolley but to Nolley's credit, he only had one more foul the rest of the way.
Nolley finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds, and though that wasn't his best game, the fact that Nolley was able to manage his foul issues well in the first half and stay out of it in the second half was impressive especially given the quality of opponent.
Of course, the nature of the game may have also lent itself to being in lower foul total situations, but Nolley was able to stay out of foul trouble when Dayton was likely focusing on trying to get him a third foul.
That also shows how Nolley has a good basketball IQ to know how to play good defense without being in higher risk situations for fouling.
Now Mike Young would rather not have Nolley in such early foul trouble like he was against Dayton, but Nolley showed that if he ever does, Young can trust Nolley to play smart and avoid a third foul way too early.
3. Hunter Cattoor Emerges as Sharpshooting Threat
Hunter Cattoor had a relatively quiet start to his season going 0-7 from three in his first 2 games while scoring 5 points total. Cattoor was rebounding effectively during those first 2 games with 12 rebounds total but his offensive numbers lagged behind.
Since then, Cattoor has found his offensive rhythm especially from three-point range where he's made at least 40% of his threes in each of his past 5 games while averaging 10 points per game during that stretch.
While some of Cattoor's most notable moments have come from diving on the floor and making hustle plays, it's Cattoor's emergence as a sharpshooter that may be the most important on a team built around three-point shooting.
It's not just that Cattoor is making threes at a very good rate, the freshman is also showing lots of offensive awareness that has helped give him more space. Of course, Wabissa Bede deserves some credit as well as VT's very good ball movement as a whole.
However, Cattoor's sharp-shooting seems bound to continue not only because of his shooting talent, but also because of his awareness on the offensive floor that has helped make him a serious offensive threat for Tech.