Virginia Tech continued to execute at a high level offensively as the Hokies downed New Mexico 92-72 in their opening game of the Wooden Legacy Tournament in Anaheim. The game was nationally televised by ESPN. Tech improved to 4-0 with the win, while the Lobos dropped to 3-1 on the season.
Sophomore point guard Justin Robinson paced the Hokies with a career-high 22 points, and he also dished out eight assists and had four rebounds. He did not commit a turnover while playing all 40 minutes of the game.
Robinson was 5-of-11 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point range. He got to the free throw line early and often, making nine of his 10 attempts. As a team the Hokies were 19-of-20 (95%) from the charity stripe.
Not only were the Hokies hot from the free throw line, they were hot from everywhere else on the court as well. Tech was 31-of-62 (50%) from the field and 11-of-24 (45.8%) from three-point range. Sophomore guard Ahmed Hill continued his hot outside shooting, going 3-of-7 from beyond the arc and 6-of-11 from the field overall. He finished with 18 points.
Two other Hokies finished in double figures. Zach LeDay had 16 points off the bench, while Justin Bibbs finished with 13. Freshman center Khadim Sy only had four points, but he finished with a team-high 10 rebounds in 16 minutes. Chris Clarke was his usual energetic self, filling up the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds and four assists while not committing a turnover.
As a team, Virginia Tech finished with 20 assists on 31 made baskets, and they only committed eight turnovers. Combine that with their hot shooting, and it’s easy to see why they coasted to a relatively easy victory.
Despite the lopsided score, this game wasn’t easy in the opening minutes. It was back-and-forth, with the game either being tied or New Mexico holding a lead. The Hokies did not claim their first lead until the 8:39 mark of the first half when Ahmed Hill made a layup, drew the foul, and hit the ensuing free throw to make the score 23-21 Virginia Tech.
The Lobos tied the game at 23, but Zach LeDay drained a three-pointer at the 5:57 mark to make the score 26-23, and from there it was all Hokies. LeDay’s shot was a big one, and it was part of a 14-2 run that saw New Mexico’s 21-18 lead turn into a 32-23 lead for Virginia Tech. The Lobos crawled back, cutting the lead to five points just before halftime, but Justin Robinson came up with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give his team a 44-36 lead heading into the intermission.
Virginia Tech’s lead grew to 14 points over the first four minutes of the second half, and they steadily increased it throughout the course of the half. The Hokies’ biggest lead was 90-66 following a jumper by Zach LeDay with 2:35 remaining.
Tech returns to action on Friday when they play Texas A&M in the second round. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.