The Hokies didn’t play their best game, but they were still plenty good enough to knock off Charleston Southern 87-59 in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. Tech improved to 10-1 on the season, while the Buccaneers dropped to 4-7.
Virginia Tech shot just 41.7% from the field and only 26.1% from three-point range. That was their second-worst field goal percentage effort of the season (36.7% vs.Texas A&M), and their worst mark from outside the three-point line. With 10 assists and 12 turnovers, it was also one of their worst assist-to-turnover ratios of the season (12-17 against Texas A&M, 8-11 against Nebraska. Despite all of that, the Hokies won the game by 28 points.
“I think it speaks to their growth,” Buzz Williams said. “I think our team identifies when we’re not being us relatively quick. What I’ve got to help figure out is, when they know we’re not being us, they’re literally saying the same things I say. It’s like Pete and Repeat, they’re just saying the same things I would say. I’ve got to figure out how to help them get back to us quicker because we’re not gonna be able to absorb, including the game on the 28th, they’re very, very good, we’re not gonna be able to absorb these stretches.”
Chris Clarke and Ahmed Hill were the stars yet again. The sophomore duo were Tech’s top two scorers, and Clarke added another double-double to his resume.
Hill finished the game with 20 points. He was 5-of-12 from the field, 2-of-6 from three-point range, and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. As a team, Tech was 31-of-37 (83.8%) from the charity stripe. It was Hill’s third consecutive game with 20+ points. He scored 20 against Ole Miss, and had another 22 against The Citadel.
“He’s as tough a kid as you could imagine,” Williams said. “He internalizes nearly everything that transpires in his life because he’s so hungry to be successful.”
Clarke had 17 points and 11 rebounds one game removed from the first triple-double in school history. He also added three steals. He only finished with two assists, mostly because his teammates had an off night shooting from three-point range.
“His assist number, he’ll gripe at those kids when it’s supposed to be a basket,” Williams said. “He feels wronged, like ‘you robbed me of an assist.’”
Zach LeDay added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Seth Allen and Justin Robinson finished with 12 points each.
Virginia Tech’s superior athleticism was enough to stifle Charleston Southern offensively. They were just 22-of-66 (33.3%) from the field and 5-of-22 (22.7%) from three-point range. They also had 17 turnovers and only seven assists.
“We tried to run them off the line as much as possible,” Ahmed Hill said following the game.
The game wasn’t always pretty. Charleston Southern led for a total of 8:39, and the game was tied for a further 1:43. However, the Hokies steadily gained control of the game as the contest progressed, and the Buccaneers had no answer down the stretch.
Virginia Tech has just one non-conference game remaining on their schedule. They’ll take on Maryland-Baltimore County next Wednesday at 7pm in Cassell Coliseum. The game can be seen online on The ACC Network Extra.
Game Notes from Virginia Tech
Chris Clarke scored 17 points. It’s his fifth double-figure game of the season and his third consecutive double-figure game. Combined with his 11 rebounds, he recorded his first double-double of the season (second, if you count his triple double on Saturday). He now has four/five career double-doubles.
Ahmed Hill scored 20 points. It is his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season, his fourth 20-plus point game of the season, and his third consecutive 20-plus point game.
Zach LeDay scored 14 points. He has recorded double-figures in 10 of the 11 games this season.
Seth Allen scored 12 points. It is his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season.
Justin Robinson had 12 points. It is his seventh game this season scoring in double figures.
Five Hokies scored in double figures tonight. Tech had seven players score in double figures in their last game.
The Hokies played 10 players tonight. Greg Donlon made his season debut. Matt Galloway recorded his first points and rebound of the season.
The Hokies used the same starting line-up today as in the first 10 games of the season.