RTC Live: 76 Classic FinalsPosted by rtmsf on November 28th, 2010
Coming into Feast Week, UNLV and Virginia Tech had to be the favorites to advance to the 76 Classic Championship game, and when it tips off at 6 PM PST, those are the two teams who will be fighting it out for the title. While Virginia Tech had to finish strong in their semifinal matchup with Oklahoma State to move on, UNLV has advanced through Tulsa and Murray State with solid workmanlike efforts. Both squads will rely on their strong backcourts and defensive pressure, with the matchups between the Running Rebels’ Oscar Bellfield and Tre’Von Willis and the Hokies’ Dorenzo Hudson and Malcolm Delaney definitely worth keeping an eye on, but it may be the performance of some talented and skilled front court players, namely UNLV’s Chace Stanback and Virginia Tech’s Jeff Allen, that will decide the outcome. We hope you’ll come and join us for what should be a very entertaining matchup in the championship, but you’re welcome to show up early too, as we’ll be keeping an eye on the third-place game between Oklahoma State and Murray State, with both teams hoping to avoid a second loss on the weekend, beginning around 3 PM PST.
Oklahoma State 66, Murray State 49. The Cowboys wrapped up third place in the 76 Classic and a 2-1 record on the weekend with a 45-26 second half to push past Murray State. The Cowboys were paced by junior guard Keiton Page who broke out of a season-long slump (including a 2/16 mark from the field in the first two games of the tournament) by hitting ten of his 13 shots and four of his five three-point attempts to post a career-high 29 points. Sophomore point guard Ray Penn added 13 points and a couple more threes, and junior college transfer Darrell Williams corralled 11 rebounds for OSU. For Murray State, they leave Anaheim with only a win over seventh-place Stanford to show for their effort and have to be resigned now to needing to win the OVC Tournament in March in order to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
UNLV 71, Virginia Tech 59. The Running Rebels advanced to 6-0 on the young season, capping a strong holiday weekend performance by forcing 19 Hokie turnovers on the way to a 76 Classic championship. The Rebels were led by the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, junior Chace Stanback, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, but got balanced scoring, with three other players scoring in double figures and each of the nine Rebels who played getting in the scoring column. Virginia Tech’s senior guard Malcolm Delaney kept the Hokies in the game as long as possible with his 30 points (including seven three-pointers on nine attempts), but despite VT’s success from behind the arc (the entire team was 10/16 from three, while only 10/25 from inside the arc) and a couple charges to within five points in the second half, the defensive pressure was too much for them. Particularly affected by the demands of the UNLV defense was Virginia Tech’s second leading scorer, Dorenzo Hudso, who turned the ball over five times and failed to connect on any of his seven field goal attempts. In the process, Virginia Tech, a perennial bubble team come March, has now lost their two early season chances at getting a signature non-conference win, although they’ll have another shot at one on Wednesday when they host Purdue in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.