Hokies Ground Eagles in Blacksburg

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Virginia Tech turned a narrow halftime lead into a rout, dominating the first 12 minutes of the second half en route to a 79-62 blowout win over Boston College on Wednesday night. The Hokies got revenge for a loss to BC earlier this month, and improve to 19-8 overall and 9-4 in the ACC. Boston College drops to 18-9, with a 9-5 record in conference play. With three straight losses, the Eagles are all but out of the race for the top seed in the ACC tournament.

Zabian Dowdell had yet another brilliant game for Virginia Tech. The senior guard, who is setting himself up for first team All-ACC honors, scored 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting. He also pulled down eight rebounds, dished out five assists and had three steals. He did not commit a turnover.

Deron Washington provided an entire highlight reel of dunks on his way to a 19 point performance. He also had eight rebounds and finished with two assists and three blocks.

A.D. Vassallo got the starting nod over Lewis Witcher and played a great game. The sophomore forward finished with 18 points and three rebounds. He was 7-of-13 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range. Jamon Gordon played just 17 minutes because of foul trouble, but he finished with four points, four assists and two steals.

Cheick Diakite gave the Hokies 13 great minutes off the bench, finishing with four points, eight rebounds and four blocks.

The Hokies shot 55.7% from the field, 54.5% from three-point range and 83.3% from the free throw line. BC was just 38.2% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range and 66.7% from the charity stripe. The Hokies out-rebounded the Eagles 34-30 and forced 11 turnovers while committing just eight.

Early on, things didn’t look good for the Hokies, as BC jumped out to a 10-4 lead at the 15:48 mark on a free throw by Sean Marshall. After that free throw, Virginia Tech slowly took control of the game and didn’t let go. The Hokies took their first lead on a Zabian Dowdell layup with 11:55 remaining in the half to make the score 15-14, and Tech took the lead for good at the 10:58 mark when A.D. Vassallo drained a three-pointer to make the score 18-16, Hokies.

Vassallo’s three-pointer was the beginning of a 14-0 Virginia Tech run. Two free throws by Zabian Dowdell with 5:46 left in the half made the score 29-16 Hokies, giving them their largest lead in the first half. However, BC didn’t go away, scoring the final eight points of the half over the final 2:46 to cut the Tech lead to 36-32 at halftime.

The game looked competitive at halftime, but it didn’t stay that way. Boston College turned the ball over on their first four possessions of the second half, and the Hokies converted them all into made shots, including two three-pointers by Vassallo. With 18:05 left, Tech was up 46-32, and BC had to call a timeout.

The Hokies scored two more baskets after the timeout, making the score 50-32 before BC finally broke the 14-0 run on two free throws by Sean Marshall. Then Tech embarked on a 16-2 run that broke BC’s back, making the score 66-36 following a dunk by Markus Sailes with 8:30 left in the game.

Virginia Tech outscored Boston College 30-4 over the first 12 minutes of the second half. BC hit just one field goal in that span. BC finally broke the huge run and got a second field goal, on a turnaround jumper by Tyler Roche with eight minutes left in the game.

At that point, the Hokies took their foot off the pedal and coasted to an easy 79-62 win. With Virginia’s 68-60 loss at Miami, Virginia Tech is now tied with the Cavaliers for second place in the ACC with a 9-4 record. The Hokies currently hold the tiebreaker over UVA, with one more meeting between the two schools in Charlottesville on March 1.

Virginia Tech returns to action this Saturday at noon when they host the Miami Hurricanes. The game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.

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