Virginia Tech got a great game from Jeff Allen and a terrific free throw shooting performance from the entire team to down Florida State 71-59 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday. The Hokies are now 10-4 on the season, with a 1-1 mark in the ACC. FSU dropped to 11-5 overall, and 1-1 in conference play.
Jeff Allen has been playing very well recently, and despite an injured groin, he took his game to another level on Saturday. Allen scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds, shooting 7-of-12 from the field in 32 minutes of action. He was 10-of-12 from the free throw line, which headlined a 34-of-37 (91.9%) performance by the entire Tech team.
Malcolm Delaney had 13 points, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in the win. He made all seven of his free throw attempts. Sophomore point guard Erick Green chipped in with 12 points, four steals and three assists, and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
Florida State came into this game with more turnovers than any other ACC team, and they committed 19 more against the Hokies, while Tech had just 13. FSU won the battle on the boards 39-30, but with turnovers and rebounding balancing each other out, the game came down to defense and free throw shooting.
The Hokies won both of those battles. FSU shot just 35.5% from the field and 57.1% from the free throw line. Tech’s ball movement was solid, and despite being smaller in the frontcourt, they weren’t afraid to take it right at the bigger FSU players.
Tech also got solid contributions from their small bench. Sophomore wing Manny Atkins played 14 minutes, scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds. Atkins also drew a critical charge in the first half. Freshman point guard Ty Garland had five points and one assist in eight minutes of action.
Junior forward Victor Davila also added nine points for the Hokies, and he was 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
It was Virginia Tech’s sixth straight win after dropping three consecutive games to UNLV, Purdue and Virginia. The Hokies played zone defense against the Noles for all 40 minutes, even extending it out to halfcourt at times. Florida State, who has struggled with turnovers all year, had a tough time getting the ball up the court at times, and an even tougher time executing their halfcourt offense.
Florida State held an early advantage in the game, but never led by more than four points. Malcolm Delaney went down the lane with 4:58 left in the first half for a driving layup to put the Hokies up 21-19, and Virginia Tech never trailed from that point. FSU led 19-17 at one point, but the Hokies closed the half on a 12-0 run to take a 29-19 lead into the intermission.
FSU managed to cut the lead to 34-31 at one point in the second half, but an old fashioned three-point play by Jeff Allen put the Hokies back up by six. Ty Garland had an impressive spurt as well, first driving into the paint and dishing to Allen for a layup, and then taking it to the basket himself to score on the very next possession. Garland’s layup put Tech up 41-33 with 11:41 remaining, and the Noles were back on their heels.
Florida State cut the lead to 43-39 with eight minutes remaining, but Malcolm Delaney was fouled as he drained a jumper from the left wing, and he completed the three-point play at the line. From that point on, it was all Virginia Tech. Erick Green’s free throws with 33 seconds remaining closed out the scoring, and the Hokies won 71-59.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Thursday night when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN.