Press Break The Post's Rundown of Local and National College Basketball
News Feed - January 5, 2009

It was a forgettable night Sunday in Durham for Virginia Tech, who lost by 25 points to a Duke team that was deeper, tougher and better. Among the rubble left in the wake of the blowout:

  • Virginia Tech’s 44 points were its lowest since a 49-41 loss to Massachusetts on Jan. 29, 2000. Coach Seth Greenberg called the offense “inept at best.”

    "That's probably giving a compliment,” he added.

    Duke is a tough defensive team – watching them courtside, the athleticism that earned Nolan Smith the starting point guard job was clear and the size of the interior players was evident – but 44 points could be properly categorized with Greenberg’s keen choice of “inept” regardless of opponent.

    “Their defense wasn’t that good, especially at the guard position,” said the ever-proud Malcolm Delaney, who scored 12 points. “I felt like we could attack them the whole game. The second half, after we went on that 4-0 run, we went away from it. We started reacting to them.”

    Delaney was referring to a second half in which the Hokies were outscored, 30-9, after scoring the first two baskets to make it a four-point game.

  • The deficit was cut to four points when senior center Cheick Diakite converted a lay-up with 17 minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the game. In the prior minute, the Hokies launched two three-pointers on fast breaks. The shooters were Delaney and A.D. Vassallo, Virginia Tech’s two most reliable long-distance threats. It was just a six-point game, and if they took transition lay-ups, who knows what might have happened?

    “I have no problem with those threes,” Greenberg said. “When we let those guys shoot threes, some people say we could have gotten better shots. …Certain coaches do that with talented players, and other coaches do that when the team’s not disciplined. I got to believe that Vassallo and Delaney are guys that can make shots. When they have room and rhythm, I want them to take those shots.”

  • It will be interesting to observe how Greenberg utilizes the center spot. He started Victor Davila against Duke, but the freshman played just seven minutes (0 points, 0 for 1 from the field and two rebounds). Diakite played 20 minutes after losing his starting job to Davila on Dec. 29 and recorded his best game of the season. He scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds and was a factor on both ends of the court.

    “Cheick’s playing well,” Greenberg said. “He was protecting the rim, he was getting some good presence, he was playing hard. He was playing well, so he earned it.”

  • Virginia Tech has five days before hosting Virginia on Saturday. This is a crucial span for a team that has played a string of road games without steady time at home. The Hokies were last at Cassell Coliseum on Dec. 14, and played four games during that span.

    Greenberg does not like to entertain questions about the NCAA tournament this early in the season, but the reality is without a pristine nonconference résumé, the Hokies cannot slip up in the ACC.

  • By Zach Berman  |  January 5, 2009; 11:59 AM ET
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