Virginia Tech rebounded from their heartbreaking loss at #1Duke by pounding the overmatched North Carolina A&T Aggies 94-66 in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. The Hokies placed five players in double figures and hit 11 three-pointers. Zabian Dowdell scored a game-high 25 points for Tech. The big victory takes Tech to 6-3 on the season, while North Carolina A&T falls to 0-5.
The 25 points scored by Zabian Dowdell was a career high. He was 7-of-12 from three-point range, and those seven three-pointers tied a school record originally set by Wally Lancaster. Dowdell played a complete game for Tech, also dishing out four assists and getting three steals.
Jamon Gordon’s performance was equally impressive. The junior guard from Jacksonville scored 11 points, handed out 11 assists and grabbed seven rebounds. He turned the ball over just once and recorded two blocked shots and two steals. Gordon also played a team-high 36 minutes.
Junior center Coleman Collins continued his string of impressive performances, recording his third double-double in the last four games. He scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, six coming on the offensive end. 11 of his points and nine of his rebounds came in the second half. Collins is leading the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.6 points and nine rebounds per game.
Wynton Witherspoon and A.D. Vassallo also scored in double figures for Tech. Witherspoon didn’t shoot the ball as well as he is capable of, going just 3-of-13 from the field, but he did score 11 points. He added two blocks, a steal, and five assists with zero turnovers. A.D. Vassallo dropped in ten points and three rebounds for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech dominated in all phases of the game. The Hokies shot 47.8% as a team, while limiting North Carolina A&T to just 34.4%. They also outrebounded the perimeter oriented Aggies 44-33. As a team Tech played unselfish basketball, dishing out 26 assists, which is just five short of the school record. The Hokies turned the ball over just 13 times and forced 19 North Carolina A&T turnovers. The more athletic Tech team blocked seven shots and recorded 11 steals.
Many thought the Hokies would come out a little flat after their near-upset of #1 Duke. Instead they came out firing on all cylinders on the offensive end. Zabian Dowdell came out of the gates on fire from three-point range, hitting his first five attempts from downtown. All five shots came in the first 9:15 of the half. Dowdell’s amazing start put the Hokies up 26-16 with ten minutes remaining before intermission.
The Aggies were a pesky team that wouldn’t go away for most of the game. There were numerous opportunities for Tech to break out to a big lead, but North Carolina A&T always seemed to respond with a small run that would keep them within striking distance.
A three-pointer by Wynton Witherspoon with 7:25 left in the first half put Tech up 34-16. However the Aggies would battle back, going on a 8-2 run to cut the lead to 36-24 with 4:47 remaining. Dowdell’s sixth three-pointer of the first half put the Hokies up 45-26 with 1:49 left before the intermission, but A&T would score the last seven points of the half to make the score 45-33 Virginia Tech at halftime.
Dowdell would begin the second half where he left off, draining a three-pointer at the 19:10 mark to extend the lead to 48-33. It would be his final three-pointer of the night, as he was not able to break Wally Lancaster’s record in the last 19 minutes of action.
The Aggies would have one more run left in them. They went on a 16-6 run beginning at the 12:20 mark and ending with 8:01 left in the game. A Demetrius Guions three-pointer cut the Tech lead to 72-59, but that was as close as North Carolina A&T would come to pulling the upset. The Hokies would respond with a 15-4 run later in the half that put them up 87-63 with 1:35 remaining. From there they would coast to the easy victory.
Virginia Tech returns to action this Saturday at 4pm when the St. John’s Red Storm travels to Blacksburg in a matchup that will bring back memories of the Hokies’ days in the Big East. The Red Storm will enter the game at 5-1 on the season and will be making their first road trip of the year. The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.