Virginia Tech bounced back from the upset against Saint Louis by blowing out Washington 103-79 on Friday evening in Madison Square Garden. The Hokies moved to 3-1 on the season, while the Huskies dropped to 2-2.
Tech has now scored over 100 points in three of their first four games this season. Justin Robinson missed nearly the entire first half of Thursday’s game against Saint Louis, and the offense never got on track. Friday night was different, as the Hokies carved up the Washington 2-3 zone from start to finish, jumping out to a massive 59-28 halftime lead.
Justin Bibbs played in his second game of the season, and he led the Hokies in scoring with 30 points, just two points below his career high, in 34 minutes. He was 10-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. Ahmed Hill added 23 points, and he was 7-of-8 from the field. Hill made all six of his three-point attempts, with nearly all of them coming from beyond NBA range.
Freshman wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker rebounded from a poor game on Thursday night to score 20 points against the Huskies. He was 5-of-10 from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point range, and he made all six of his free throw attempts. Junior point guard Justin Robinson added 11 points, five assists and four steals.
Obviously the Hokies had a hot night shooting. As a team, they were 30-of-50 (60%) from the field and 15-of-22 (68.2%) from the outside. They were also 28-of-36 (77.8%) from the free throw line. The first half was especially good, with the Hokies nailing 11-of-14 (78.6%) shots from three-point range. Tech dished out 23 assists as a team.
It was a dominant offensive performance despite Buzz Williams electing to not use starting center Kerry Blackshear very much. Blackshear started the game, but only played 10 minutes. He did not score. Freshman PJ Horne played seven minutes at center, while former walk-on Nick Fullard got four minutes. In general, Williams decided to go with a very small lineup with Chris Clarke getting the most minutes guarding Washington’s centers.
As you might expect with such a small lineup, Tech allowed 16 offensive rebounds, though the Huskies only managed to convert them into 10 second chance points. Still, the Hokies were able to win the overall rebounding battle 34-33 despite playing with such a small team.
As good as the performance was, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Somehow Tech managed to score 103 points despite committing a whopping 22 turnovers. They were sloppy with the ball, and at times the Washington 2-3 defense caused some issues. Still, the team flashed serious potential offensively. If they could have cut their turnovers in half, their margin of victory could have been even more impressive.
Virginia Tech returns to action next Tuesday when they host Houston Baptist in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game can be seen online on ACC Network Extra.