Hokies Down Yellow Jackets 76-71

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Virginia Tech led the entire game and knocked off Georgia Tech 76-71 in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. The game was tight, particularly late, but the Hokies did enough to move to 16-7 overall and 6-3 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 10-13 overall and 1-9 in ACC play.

Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 23 points. He didn’t shoot well, going just 4-of-12 from the field, but he got into the lane and drew fouls. After going 11-of-11 from the free throw line against NC State, he was 14-of-15 against Georgia Tech. He also dished out a team-high five assists in 37 minutes of action.

A.D. Vassallo added 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He was 4-of-7 from three-point range and played all 40 minutes. Jeff Allen had 15 points and nine rebounds, though he had zero points and just one rebound in the second half.

The Hokies got an unexpected contribution from Cheick Diakite, who had 10 points and seven rebounds. He was just one point away from his career high. He scored 11 points against Mount St. Mary’s back on November 18, 2005. Diakite also had three blocks in 31 minutes.

VT also got good play from Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell. Though they combined for just eight points, they each made contributions that won’t show up in their point totals. Hudson had six points, three rebounds and three assists in 19 minutes, and he didn’t turn the ball over. Bell had just two points, but he had seven rebounds in 16 minutes and played good defense when Tech switched to a 2-3 zone for part of the second half. Bell had six rebounds in Sunday’s game against NC State.

Tech shot just 37.1% from the field, but Georgia Tech came into the game leading the ACC in field goal percentage defense in conference play. The Hokies held the Yellow Jackets to just 39.7% from the field, and they were just 4-of-18 (22.2%) from three-point range.

Georgia Tech came into this game ranked second in the ACC in rebounding margin, but the Hokies outrebounded the Jackets 43-40. VT had 16 offensive rebounds to Georgia Tech’s 11. Turnovers were even at 14, and this was just GT’s second ACC game in which they’ve had fewer than 15 turnovers.

This was a tight game with just a few minutes remaining in the first half. Alade Aminu threw down a dunk for Georgia Tech, and that cut the VT lead to 30-29 with 3:16 remaining. However, the Hokies responded by ending the half on an 11-2 run. Malcolm Delaney ended the half by banking in a runner at the buzzer, sending VT into the halftime intermission with a 41-31 lead.

The Hokies scored two field goals in the first 1:28 of the second half, but their offense went cold after that. They didn’t hit another shot from the field until a Cheick Diakite dunk with 10:21 remaining in the game. Despite such an offensive slump, Georgia Tech could never take the lead, and never got closer than three points in the second half.

With 4:08 left in the game, Malcolm Delaney scored on a layup in transition, and went to the line and finished the three-point play the old fashioned way. That put the Hokies up 70-58, but Georgia Tech didn’t go away.

The Yellow Jackets hit three three-pointers in just over two minutes, after hitting just one for the first 36 minutes of the game. A deep shot from Lance Storrs cut the Tech lead to 72-67 with 1:55 remaining, and a layup by Aminu made the score 72-69 with just 1:22 left. However, Malcolm Delaney and Hank Thorns combined for four free throws down the stretch, and Virginia Tech held on for the 76-71 win.

The Hokies return to action on Saturday when they travel to College Park to take on Maryland. Tip-off is scheduled for 4pm, and the game will be televised by Raycom. Check your local listings.

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