After starting 0-6 from beyond the three-point line, Virginia Tech (6-1) made 20 of its last 31 from long range on the way to a 97-57 rout of Coppin State (1-6).
“Our team needed to see some things go in the basket,” Head Coach Mike Young said. “I don’t think it’s anything deep-seeded with what we’re doing offensively. Clemson is pretty good on that end, as is Penn State. We just got some opportunities that we hadn’t had in the last couple of weeks and it was good to see the skies open up.”
Outside of the Hokies’ upset win against Villanova, when they shot 10 of 20 from three-point-range, Tech entered Saturday night’s game against the Eagles shooting just 29% from outside. The explosion from three-point range is a much-needed development as the Hokies gear up for ACC competition.
Tech was led by sophomores Jalen Cone and Nahiem Alleyne who each canned five three-pointers on their way to 18 points. Alleyne is now second on the team with 12.3 points per game.
“He’s good, he’s a really good basketball player. On the ball and off of the ball, he’s probably the most responsible defender that we have,” Young said. “I think for him it’s just being consistent and doing it day-in and day-out. That’s what really good players do.”
The freshmen also got involved as the game began to get out of hand, including the first real action for sharp-shooter Darius Maddox. He lived up to his billing as the former four-star recruit was 3-of-3 from deep, scoring the first nine points of his collegiate career.
Top recruit Joe Bamisile also contributed with nine points on 3-4 shooting. Bamisile entered Saturday shooting 1-13 from the field in his limited action early in the season.
“I have strong opinions about Bamisile and Maddox,” Young said. “Maddox played a little bit more, and he’s just so much further along defensively. He comes in and bangs his first three that he took. Bamisile is an ultra-talented person who scores easily. He’s a good basketball player. Those guys are going to stay the course and hang in there.”
Leading scorer Keve Aluma also stayed consistent with 12 points and seven rebounds for the Hokies. He went 2-of-2 from deep after missing his last seven since arriving home from Connecticut.
Tech got a boost from some poor discipline by Coppin State as well. Tech led 39-22 at the halftime break, but put its first points of the second half on the board before a single second ticked off of the clock.
The Eagles had received their first of three second half technical fouls heading into the locker room, and the Hokies took advantage by making 12 of 15 free throws in the second frame.
The score could have been much more lop-sided for the Hokies had it not been for the performance of CSU’s Anthony Tarke. He led all scorers with 19 points and was the only Eagle to make more than three shots from the floor.
Despite the great shooting, Tech had 18 turnovers against the Eagles. Over the last three games, the Hokies are averaging 16 turnovers per contest, something that won’t be as easy to overcome against ACC competition.
“If somebody watches you practice, they should be able to tell you what’s important to the team, and that’s really important to me,” Young said. “I don’t think you can turn the ball over and expect to be really successful. It’s an emphasis, and the team is aware of it; we’re going to do a better job of it.”
The Hokies have one more non-conference match-up before ACC play takes center-stage after the holidays. Tech will welcome Longwood to Cassell Coliseum on Monday night at 8:00 p.m.