The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team got the 2006-07 season off to a great start, beating visiting Coppin State 94-43 in Cassell Coliseum on Friday night. The Hokies are 1-0 on the year, and their all-time record against schools from the MEAC improves to 20-0.
The Hokies got major contributions from everyone on the roster. Senior guard Zabian Dowdell paced the team in scoring with 16 points. Dowdell played a complete game, dishing out seven assists, grabbing five rebounds and recording three steals. The 6-3 guard from Pahokee, FL even managed to block a shot.
Sophomore small forward A.D. Vassallo came off the bench to score 15 points. He was 5-of-8 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. He also nailed both of his free throw attempts.
Senior forward Coleman Collins managed to record a double-double, despite playing just 19 minutes. He scored 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, and pulled down 10 rebounds. Senior guard Jamon Gordon joined him in double figures by scoring 10 points. Gordon also had six assists and three steals, and turned the ball over just once.
The final player in double figures was starting small forward Deron Washington. Washington scored 12 points in 21 minutes of action. The Hokies played all 12 available players, and no player was on the court for more than 23 minutes of action.
The early scouting report on Virginia Tech’s 2006 recruiting class is good. Freshmen Nigel Munson and Lewis Witcher played well against the Eagles. Munson handled the point guard duties for 22 minutes during the game. He scored nine points, dished out four assists and pulled down three rebounds. He was 3-of-4 from three-point range.
Witcher showed the ability to score and rebound on the inside. He finished with seven points and six rebounds. All six rebounds were on the offensive glass. Witcher did not turn the ball over, impressive for a freshman playing in his first collegiate game.
The only player who did not score a point during the game was sophomore forward Cheick Diakite. He was 0-of-1 from the field and 0-of-4 from the free throw line. But Diakite managed to contribute in other ways by pulling down 10 rebounds, handing out two assists and not turning the ball over.
As a team, the Hokies shot 35-of-72 from the field, good for 48.6%. Led by Vassallo and Munson, they were a very efficient 12-of-29 from three-point range, good for 41.4%. They also out-rebounded Coppin State 51-32, and dished out 23 assists to the Eagles’ three. As usual, Tech won the turnover battle, committing just nine while forcing 17.
The only bad statistic of the night was free throw shooting. The Hokies were just 10-of-21 from the charity stripe. But the team improved in the second half, going 8-of-13 from the free throw line, and four of those five misses were by Diakite.
This game was a mismatch from the very beginning, with the Hokies winning every important battle on the court. Tech outscored Coppin State 16-7 in points off turnovers, 38-20 in the paint, 28-9 in second chance points, 15-2 in fast break points and 41-18 in bench points.
Coppin State never had the lead over the Hokies, and never managed to tie the game. The Hokies led 44-14 at halftime, and the outcome was never in doubt.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Tuesday, November 14 when they host West Florida in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will not be televised.