NC State vs. Virginia Tech Live Blog, ACC Tournament 2007
Posted by Mike on March 10, 2007
Today NC State plays Virginia Tech for the right to play my beloved Tar Heels in the final. This game 10 of my attempt to have a live blog of every ACC Tournament game this week, although I’ve had help from the Extrapolater. For a preview of each team, see my ACC Tournament Preview. To see how these teams got her, see yesterday’s live blogs of NC State-Virginia and Virginia Tech-Wake Forest.
The Wolfpack will have a hard time against the Hokies’ experienced backcourt, while VT will have a hard time against freshman forward Brandon Costner and Sidney Lowe’s voodoo blazer. NC State was able to sweep the season series; add the jacket to the mix, and the Hokies could be doomed before this game begins.
3:58 pm: 2-2. Courtney Fells gets the first basket of the game, an easy layup, but Jamon Gordon quickly responds.
4:01 pm: 6-5, VT. A.D. Vassallo is playing well early in the game, hitting two straight shots to give the Hokies the lead.
Both teams seem to be struggling to catch a rhythm early.
4:06 pm: 7-6, NCSU. Gavin grant hits a midrange jumper to give NC State the lead.
4:08 pm: 13-6, NCSU. Every time I see the TV cut to Lowe’s sideline gestures, something good happens to the Wolfpack. Fells and Grant each hit a three after Raycom puts Senor Sid on camera.
His tie is polka dot today. Only he can pull that off.
4:12 pm: 13-10, NCSU. Deron Washington goes up for the emphatic dunk. Virginia Tech fares much better when he’s effective in the paint.
I haven’t heard much from Dowdell or Costner so far today.
4:14 pm: 16-10, NCSU. Atsur hits another three for the Wolfpack. I think they’re 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.
4:15 pm: 18-12, NCSU. Courtney Fells gets an easy basket inside from a great pass by Costner. NC State has shot 70% from the field so far.
4:20 pm: 21-12, NCSU. Dennis Horner drive down the lane, and gets three the hard way. Deron Washington picks up his second foul, and he’s now on the bench.
4:21 pm: It looks like Atsur twisted something, and he’s out of the game. Surprisingly, the Wolfpack offense continues without a hitch. Nieman gets a nice basket off a pass from Horner, and the NC State lead reaches double digits.
Seth Greenberg decides to play Nigel Munson at point guard in Atsur’s absence instead of Dowdell.
4:23 pm: 23-15, NCSU. Munson immediately makes an impact, hitting a three off the backboard. 8:00 left in the first half.
4:27 pm: Atsur heads to the locker room. They can;t afford to have him out long; he’s the most important player to this team. Specifically, he’s their only true point guard.
4:28 pm: 25-17, NCSU. Virginia Tech is so far unable to take advantage of their opponent’s best player being out. They only have two field goals in over six minutes, and they’re both from Vassallo.
4:30 pm: Atsur is back in the game. A good opportunity for the Hokies is laid to waste.
4:32 pm: 25-21, NCSU. The Wolfpack will need to do a better job of getting defensive rebounds and controlling the ball. They can’t allow Virginia Tech to get twice as many opportunities as them.
4:36 pm: 28-21, NCSU. With two minutes left, Gavin Grant gets an old-fashioned three, off another Atsur feed.
I have been simply shocked by Dowdell’s subpar performance. Is it that Atsur is the only point guard in the ACC capable of giving him such fits? If so, he’s even better than I thought. And I’ve watched him, like, forever!
4:39 pm: 31-21, NCSU. Horner hits another three for the Wolfpack, and they lead by 10.
I didn’t know snowboarder Shaun White played college basketball!
4:40 pm: Zabian Dowdell finally gets on the board as time expires in the first half. NC State leads, 31-25 at halftime. It’s painfully obvious that NC State is giving Virginia Tech fits, but I still can’t figure out why. Maybe it’s because their forwards are effective from anywhere on the court. Maybe it’s because Engin Atsur matches up well against Zabian Dowdell. Maybe it’s because the Wolfpack slow the game to a halt, while able to keep a high shooting percentage. Regardless of what it is, Dowdell needs to be more effective, especially on offense, for Virginia Tech to win in the second half.
4:51 pm: dcydell asks whether any ACC at-large teams in right now will be left out of the tourney. I say no, but Georgia Tech and Florida State are definitely rooting against them. But while I think Florida State should be in, their tournament bid was likely done for no matter what happens from this point on.
4:58 pm: The second half begins. Washington promptly picks up his third foul.
5:00 pm: 31-26, NCSU. The Hokies are only 3 of 8 on free throws. If they made them all, the game would be tied.
Neither team has shot well to start the game. Just as I type that, Gordon gets a nice layup, and Virginia Tech is within three.
5:04 pm: 33-28, NCSU. Costner gets an easy layup. I haven;t heard much from him in the first half. He’ll need to be a big factor for the Pack to win.
Apparently Atsur is still hurt. Other players will need to pick up the slack.
5:05 pm: 35-33, NCSU. Costner is starting to heat up, but Vasallo and Collins each get easy shots, Vassallo a three and Collins a dunk, and the Hokies are now within two.
5:07 pm: Things are not going well for NC State in the second half. Costner now has three fouls and seems to have pulled a muscle. The already thin lineup could be in serious trouble down the stretch.
5:11 pm: Deron Washington is now out with four fouls. The Hokies may have to dig deep into their own bench.
5:12 pm: 35-35. Washington’s replacement, Lewis Witcher, ties the game with a putback. The Wolfpack can’t afford to continue letting VT dominate the boards.
5:14 pm: 40-35, NCSU. Just as it looks like Va. Tech has the momentum, Neiman hits a three, and Grant goes coast to coast for a layup.
5:15 pm: 40-36, NCSU. Zabian Dowdell misses a free throw. That may not be a big deal to you, but I watched him in person in the Dean Dome making 17 of 19 free throws in our loss to the Hokies. After that miss, I’m ecstatic.
5:17 pm: 40-38, NCSU. Dowdell hits a tough shot inside to bring the deficit down to two.
Gordon joins Washington on the bench. NC State needs to take advantage of this.
5:21 pm: 42-38, NCSU. The game’s two most awkward moments, back-to-back:
- Tom Pyzsdjkafansamanski’s interview with Rodney Monroe. Out of place and very slightly gay.
- More of Sidney Lowe’s sideline gestures. I think he winked at a girl across the court in the front row.
Costner gets his fourth foul.
5:25 pm: 44-39, NCSU, 10:00 left. Ben McCauley gets a tough basket inside for his first points of the game.
5:26 pm: 46-39, NCSU. Horner’s free throws bring the lead back to 7.
Washington (4 fouls) is back in the game.
5:28 pm: 46-43, NCSU. The Wolfpack forwards need to box out. They’re keeping the Hokies in this game because they’re getting all of the rebounds.
5:29 pm: 46-45, NCSU. Dowdell hits a mid-range jumper to reduce the difference to one. They still haven’t had the lead since early in the first half.
5:30 pm: 48-45, NCSU. Just as the Hokies have momentum, Fells hits a jumpshot and Costner steals the ball in the paint.
Gavin Grant, what the hell kind of a shot was that? George Gervin is rolling in his grave.
Wait…George Gervin’s alive? I knew that, you dips—! Now shut up and get me some coffee!
5:32 pm: 48-48, 7:00 left. Vassallo takes advantage of Grant’s huge gaffe and hits a three to tie.
NC State’s FG percentage is way down from the first half.
5:36 pm: 52-48, NCSU, 6:00 left. McCauley give the Wolfpack the lead back, and Fells hits a jumper to bring the lead to four.
If this game is going to come down to free throws, NC State is going to win. Everyone on their team is a good shooter. Grant shoots two more to make it 54-48, NCSU.
5:39 pm: Virginia Tech has blown two one-and-ones. That’s going to haunt them in the end.
I’m able to get the feeds of both ESPN and Raycom. I’m actually going to choose Raycom; their analyst have more in-depth knowledge of the ACC.
5:41 pm: 56-50, NCSU. The Hokies score, but McCauley is finally getting some touches inside in the second half. Three and a half minutes to go. Virginia Tech will need to make a move now if they want to win this game.
5:47 pm: Less than three minutes left, and Virginia Tech misses all three of their one-and-one trips to the free throw line.
5:48 pm: Gavin Grant however, does not miss his free throws, and NC State leads 58-50.
5:49 pm: 58-52, NCSU. Coleman Collins gets the putback for the Hokies, and Grant turns the ball over. However, Virginia Tech can’t take advantage on their next possession. With less than two minutes left, time is running out.
5:50 pm: 61-52, NCSU, 1:30 left. Fells hits another three at the perfect time, and NC State may have put the game away, up nine with less than 90 seconds to go.
5:52 pm: 61-56, NCSU, 1:10 left. Virginia Tech, why won’t you die?!? Washington goes in the lane and hits an inside shot, and then steals the ball on the inbound pass, where he’s fouled and hits his free throws.
5:54 pm: 63-59, NCSU, :58 left. McCauley hits two free throws, but Washington hits another shot, this time a three.
If Virginia Tech loses this game, it will be because of their failures at the free throw line. They were 3 for 8 in the first half and were 0-for their 1+1 bonus fouls.
5:57 pm: NC State can’t get the ball inbounds, and are forced to use the game’s last timeout.
5:58 pm: NC State goes to the free throw line again. More importantly, Washington fouls out. Fells is one of two. 64-59, NCSU.
5:59 pm: 64-61, NCSU, :43 left. Dowdell makes a great pass to Witcher, who dunks it in and cuts the lead to three.
6:00 pm: 66-63, NCSU, :34 left. Grant hits his free throws, but Dowdell gets a quick basket to bring the lead back to three.
A.D. Vassallo fouls out. That’s huge.
6:02 pm: 68-63, NCSU, :26 left. NC State hits their free throws, the Hokies miss, Costner rebounds, and Dowdell fouls out. It looks like NC State is going to win, now up 70-63 with :20 left and three VT starters disqualified.
6:07 pm: It’s official: Sidney Lowe has the voodoo jacket. NC State wins 72-64, and they will go n=on to play my beloved Tar Heels tomorrow in the ACC championship game. Frankly, I’m not looking forward to playing the Wolfpack, and at-large teams are definitely rooting for the Tar Heels on Sunday. The Wolfpack have played three straight days with a thin bench, so they may not have enough in the tank to beat the Tar Heels. Still, with that jacket, all bets are off. All I can say is, Roy had better neutralize him by breaking out a Carolina blue jacket.
I ‘ll be back tomorrow to live blog the final on Tar Heel Mania.