RTC Live: 76 Classic Semifinals

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2010

Games #39-#40.  Back in Anaheim with Mickey and Friends for the semifinal round of the 76 Classic.

It’s Friday of Thanksgiving week, and while you could join the rest of the lunatics out braving crowded parking lots and jam-packed stores, you being the faithful college basketball fan,  you’re hanging out on the couch and catching up on your hoops-watching time while working your way through your turkey-day leftovers. If that’s the case, you may as well join us as we take in the 76 Classic all day long. We’ll start with the first semifinal (Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State) at 11:30 am PST and wrap up the night with Murray State and UNLV somewhere around 8:30 pm PST, but we’ll be here the whole day long breaking down the action from courtside. The Hokies coasted through their opening round game with CS Northridge, while Oklahoma State had to put in a full day of work to handle DePaul, behind 27 outstanding points from senior forward Marshall Moses. But the Cowboys figure to have their hands full with a strong Virginia Tech backcourt on Friday and will need to get more out of their starting backcourt who were a combined 2/17 from the field against DePaul. In the nightcap, Murray State’s backcourt will also have the spotlight firmly upon them as they will have to hold up under UNLV’s non-stop defensive pressure to give the Racers a chance to advance to the championship game. In between the two semis, we’ll keep in touch regarding the consolation games, so we’ll hope you’ll join us for a long and exciting day of basketball out west.

Recaps

Virginia Tech 56 Oklahoma State 51. In a game marred by a barrage of stoppages, bad calls and missed calls in the second half, the Hokies out-toughed the Cowboys down the stretch of a game that had all the hallmarks of November basketball: sloppiness, lack of execution and a ton of effort on both sides of the ball. Virginia Tech failed to convert a field goal for the last eight and a half minutes of the first half, but OSU was only able to muster an 11-2 run over that stretch, good for just a three-point halftime lead. The second half saw a couple of official stoppages as the referees went to the monitors to review plays involving high elbows, with OSU senior forward Matt Pilgrim ejected for what was ruled a flagrant foul, while VT’s Victor Davila received an intentional foul and a technical (but no ejection) for a similar play. Down the stretch, the Hokies finished on a 14-4 run to turn a five-point deficit with under five minutes to play into a five-point victory when the final horn sounded, with ten of those last 14 Tech points coming from the line. While not a thing of beauty, the Hokies were effective enough to advance to Sunday’s final to face UNLV.

UNLV 69 Murray State 55. After a hot shooting start for both teams, UNLV’s defensive pressure wore down the Murray State backcourt, forcing 13 first half turnovers to take a 12-point lead into the locker room. While the Running Rebels’ stellar defensive play, including two spectacular Anthony Marshall blocks of Racer fast break layup attempts, may have been the key to UNLV’s victory, they also were highly efficient offensively, shooting 58.7% from the field, including seven of their 15 three-point attempts, and racking up 17 assists on their 27 field goals. Chace Stanback was particularly good, contributing a game-high 19 points (7/8 from the field, 3/4 from three), while Oscar Bellfield added ten points and six assists for a balanced UNLV offensive attack. Senior guard Tre’Von Willis continues to make his way back from his suspension early in the season, playing just 15 minutes while dealing with foul trouble throughout the game.

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