Virginia Tech used a strong first half to easily knock off Georgia Tech 59-43 in the opening round of the ACC Tournament on Thursday night. The Hokies improved to 20-10 with the victory, and strengthened their chances of making the NCAA Tournament.
This game was over before it began. The Hokies jumped out to a quick 8-0 lead, and Georgia Tech never led. In fact, the Yellow Jackets never even managed to tie the game following the opening basket.
Virginia Tech’s defense was superb, as Georgia Tech shot just 31.1% from the field and 21.7% from three-point range. Brian Oliver scored 29 points in the first meeting with the Hokies, a 72-57 win for Georgia Tech, but he had just two points on Thursday night and he was 1-of-8 from the field. Iman Shumpert had only 12 points after torching the Hokies for 22 points and 27 points in the two regular season games.
Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 15 points to go along with a team-high four assists. Jeff Allen, playing on a sore ankle, pitched in with 14 points and 11 rebounds, his 16th double-double of the season. Erick Green added 11 points and three steals.
As a team, Virginia Tech shot 46.8% from the field, and outrebounded Georgia Tech 33-29. Even popular guard Paul Debnam got into the act for the Hokies, scoring one point on a free throw late in the game.
Virginia Tech put this game away early. The Hokie started the game on a 15-2 run, delivering the knockout blow before Georgia Tech had barely gotten off the bus. A Malcolm Delaney jumper with 14:08 left on the clock made the score 15-2, and though Georgia Tech fought back to cut the lead to 30-19 at one poing, the Hokies scored the final six points of the half and took a 36-19 lead into halftime.
Struggling offensively, Georgia Tech had no chance to rally in the second half. The Hokies led by as many as 24 points, and basically took their foot off the pedal and ran time off the clock over the last 10 minutes of the game. They coasted to the easy 59-43 win while trying to conserve energy for tonight’s quarterfinal game with Florida State.
Tip-off for tonight’s game with the #3 seed Seminoles will be approximately 9:30pm, and the game will be televised by the ACC Network and ESPN2.