After watching his team struggle to defend the 3-point shot in its last game, Seth Greenberg may actually welcome the potent, but more conventional game of Gonzaga.
Greenberg and Virginia Tech will meet the 14th-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday for third place in the Great Alaska Shootout and the first meeting between the schools.
Virginia Tech (2-1) suffered its first loss on Friday to No. 22 Butler, 84-78 in overtime. The Hokies gave up 14 3-pointers to the Bulldogs, as their bigger lineup had trouble guarding the perimeter.
“Last time I checked, two plus two plus two equals six and three plus three plus three equals nine,” a frustrated Greenberg said. “I’m not a rocket scientist but I can do that math.”
He was disappointed because his frontcourt tandem of Jeff Allen and Deron Washington played excellently. Allen had 21 points and nine rebounds while Washington added 14 points before fouling out.
Allen, a freshman, was fouled when he scored a tying basket with 14 seconds left in the second half, but he missed the foul shot for the lead. He scored eight of Virginia Tech’s first 12 points, taking advantage of the smaller Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-7 forward should face a bigger challenge inside against Gonzaga (4-1). Although the Bulldogs start four guards, freshman forward Austin Daye figures prominently in their rotation and is the team’s leading scorer at 14.0 points per game.
The 6-foot-10 Daye, however, had his worst game of the season with six points and four fouls in a 73-63 loss to Texas Tech on Friday. Daye had reached double figures in every game this season but he’s been quiet offensively in Alaska, taking a total of 14 shots and averaging 8.0 points in two games.
The Bulldogs trailed 41-31 at halftime and had a terrible start after the break. They failed to score for the first 6:27 of the second half and fell behind by 17 points before their late rally fell short.
Gonzaga committed seven turnovers in its first eight possessions of the second half.
“This team has got to understand - they have to make a change after that second turnover,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said.
Gonzaga actually had its best 3-point shooting effort of the season, making 6-of-15 (40.0 percent). The Bulldogs entered Friday’s game shooting just 24.4 percent (11-of-45) on 3-pointers.
Micah Downs has been Gonzaga’s best player in Alaska, averaging 14.5 points in two games after scoring a total of 20 in his first three contests. Downs made three 3s and scored a team-high 15 points in Friday’s loss.