Virginia Tech looked like the team everyone was expecting in the preseason on Thursday night in an 80-61 rout of Seton Hall in the Aeropostale Classic in Madison Square Garden. The Hokies used a big second half run to turn the game into a blowout and improve their record to 8-3, with a 1-0 mark in ACC play. The Pirates drop to 6-2.
One worry after the Wake Forest game was whether or not Jamon Gordon would be able to play effectively against Seton Hall after he sprained his knee against the Deacons. Not only did he play, but he dominated the Pirates. Gordon finished with a team-high in points (22) and steals (7). He also had eight rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot. He also had one highlight reel dunk over a Seton Hall defender.
The Hokies got major contributions from other players as well. Zabian Dowdell finished with 12 points, four assists and three steals. He was 2-of-3 from three-point range. Nigel Munson saw more playing time off the bench than usual because of Seton Hall’s quickness advantage, and he responded with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He also had three assists in 15 minutes.
Deron Washington enjoyed a very balanced game for the Hokies. He finished with eight points, a team-high nine rebounds, four steals and four blocks. Coleman Collins came off the bench to score five points, grab six rebounds and block three shots in 19 minutes in one of his more efficient performances of the season.
The Hokies enjoyed one of their top shooting performances of the year. Tech was 30-of-58 from the field (51.7%) and 6-of-14 from three-point range (42.9%). They also shut down Seton Hall on the other end. The Pirates shot just 27.7% from the field and 23.8% from three-point range.
In the blocked shots category, the Hokies turned in one of the most dominating performances that you’ll see. Tech blocked 12 Seton Hall shots, while the Pirates didn’t block a shot all night. The Hokies also had 16 steals, which is a season-high. Tech also out-rebounded Seton Hall 39-37.
Virginia Tech jumped out to an early 11-1 lead, with Jamon Gordon scoring seven of the first 11 point. The Hokies coasted to halftime with a 38-31 lead, but their 13 first half turnovers were keeping Seton Hall in the game. Tech was in control, but in the past we’ve seen them lose control early in the second half.
That didn’t happen on Thursday night. After Seton Hall’s outstanding freshman guard Eugene Harvey hit a layup with 17:07 left in the game to cut Tech’s lead to 40-36, the Hokies embarked on a 20-0 run that put the game away. Over the next 7:54 after Harvey’s basket, Seton Hall failed to score, and the Hokies forced eight turnovers during the run. Meanwhile, Tech committed just six turnovers for the entire half, dominating the turnover margin over the last 20 minutes.
With a 60-36 lead, Tech coasted to the easy victory. The Hokies improved to 9-4 all-time in Madison Square Garden. Tech is now 2-1 against Big East teams since leaving that conference following the 2003-04 season.
With his second basket of the game early in the first half, Jamon Gordon became the 36th player in Virginia Tech history to score 1,000 points. The senior guard from Jacksonville, FL now has 1,018 points following his 22-point performance on Thursday night.
Virginia Tech returns to action Saturday night when they host Campbell in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will not be televised.