Despite playing without junior center Coleman Collins, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team managed to knock off Mount St. Mary’s 74-62 on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum. In Collins’ absence, several other Hokies had career nights to pick the slack, including sophomore forward Deron Washington, who scored 24 points and grabbed ten rebounds.
Washington, who scored 20 of his 24 points in the first half, had a complete game for Tech. He tied a career high in points and rebounds. He also recorded a career-best five blocked shots. He scored the majority of his points in transition and at the free throw line rather than from set offensive plays.
Washington was not the only Virginia Tech player to step up in place of Collins. Freshman Cheick Diakite, a young, inexperienced player from Mali, started in place of Collins and scored 11 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Diakite got the Hokies off to a good start in both halves, hitting a shot to start the game, as well as scoring Tech’s first four points of the second half. The 11 points scored by Diakite were the first points of his career. His seven rebounds were also a career high.
Another freshman, small forward and Puerto Rico native A.D. Vassallo, recorded a career high in scoring as well. Vassallo scored 13 points off the bench for the Hokies. He hit a trio of three-pointers, knocked down two free throws and later drove through the lane for an easy bucket. Vassallo was a well-regarded shooter coming out of Hargrave Military Academy, and he flashed some of that ability on Friday night.
Tech’s leading scorer from last season, junior guard Zabian Dowdell, struggled from the field for the majority of the game. Dowdell had just two points at halftime after spending the majority of the first 20 minutes on the bench with two fouls. He couldn’t find his shot until late in the second half. Dowdell scored 18 points in the game, most of which came down the stretch.
Virginia Tech’s other starting guard, junior Jamon Gordon, scored just two points during the game. He did not hit a field goal, going 0-8. His only points came on two free throw attempts late in the game. Gordon did manage to record five assists.
With their victory the Hokies move to 3-1 on the season. Mount St. Mary’s, playing their first game of the year, drops to 0-1. Virginia Tech’s next game will be on Monday night when they host the Marshall Thundering Herd. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm and the game will not be televised.