Hokies Dominate Old Dominion, 72-55

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Virginia Tech used a 17-0 run in the early stages of the game to get out to a big lead en route to a 72-55 victory over the Old Dominion Monarchs. The victory, easily Tech’s best of the season, improves the Hokies’ record to 5-3. Old Dominion falls to 6-3.

Small forward Deron Washington followed up a three point, one rebound effort against George Washington with the best game of his junior season so far. Washington led Virginia Tech with 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting and also pulled down seven rebounds. Washington had three steals and blocked a shot in 27 minutes.

Senior guard Zabian Dowdell also rebounded from a bad shooting day against GW. Dowdell scored 17 points, and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. In his first game back at the point guard position, he also had six assists, four rebounds and two steals.

Freshman forward Lewis Witcher continued his good play on the inside. He missed most of the first half because of foul trouble and only played 19 minutes overall, but he finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Witcher was 4-of-5 from the field.

Cheick Diakite, who has become a regular in the starting lineup, also played well. He finished with five points and six rebounds. Jamon Gordon filled up the stat sheet, as usual, with nine points, five assists, three steals, three rebounds and no turnovers. A.D. Vassallo came off the bench to score seven points and grab eight rebounds.

Coleman Collins did not play due to a deep thigh bruise suffered in practice Monday.

Virginia Tech outrebounded Old Dominion 37-28. It was a great effort for the Hokies, as the Monarchs entered the game with a +6.8 rebounding margin.

The Hokies came out focused from the very beginning. With the score tied 3-3 in the early going, Tech went on a 17-0 run that made the score 20-3 with 13:52 left in the first half. The Hokies scored 11 of their first 20 points on fast breaks, and they had the game under control.

Old Dominion made a run in the first half, cutting the lead to six points on several occasions. With 7:06 remaining in the half, the Hokies led 28-22, and then went on a 9-0 run. Tech had a 37-22 lead at the 4:05 mark, and although ODU cut the lead to 39-30 at halftime, the Hokies were never seriously threatened.

The Monarchs managed to cut the lead to seven points, 57-50, with 7:34 left in the game after a three-pointer by Brian Henderson. Virginia Tech responded with another 9-0 run that was sparked by a three-pointer by A.D. Vassallo and jumped out to a 66-50 lead, then never looked back.

The Hokies got their best free throw shooters to the line in the last 2:11 of the game, and as a result ODU was never able to get back in the game. Zabian Dowdell and Vassallo combined to go 6-of-6 from the free throw line down the stretch, propelling the Hokies to a 72-55 victory.

The only thing that kept Old Dominion in the game was three-point shooting. The Monarchs were 10-of-26 from the outside, good for 38.5%. Tech was just 3-of-13. But ODU cooled off in the second half, shooting just 7-of-26 (26.9%) from the field, and 5-of-15 (33.3%) from three-point range.

A key for the Hokies was their containment of Old Dominion point guard Drew Williamson. Williamson entered the game averaging 12.9 points, second on the team, and he also had an outstanding 35 assists and just eight turnovers in eight games. But Williamson scored just four points on 1-of-8 shooting against Virginia Tech. He had four assists, but he turned the ball over five times.

For the game, the Hokies forced 18 Old Dominion turnovers while committing just nine. They outscored ODU 23-10 off turnovers, 20-0 in fast break points, 36-14 in the paint, and 17-7 in second chance points.

Virginia Tech returns to action on Sunday afternoon when they host Appalachian State. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 pm and the game will not be televised.

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