The Hokies recorded their 20th win of the season, and Seth Greenberg got his 300th career victory in a 94-62 pasting of Morgan State in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday night. Virginia Tech is now 20-13 on the season, and they’ll face UAB in the second round of the NIT in Cassell Coliseum on Monday night.
Tech has now won 20 games for two straight years for the first time since 1995 and 1996. Their 94 points scored is a season high. They shot 65.4%, also a season high, and made their first 15 shots of the second half, an amazing stat. The Hokies didn’t miss a shot in the second half until Terrell Bell missed a three-pointer with 5:07 left in the game.
As a result of Tech’s hot shooting, Morgan State only had four rebounds in the second half. The Hokies won the battle on the boards 35-21.
Virginia Tech got a tremendous offensive performance from junior wing A.D. Vassallo. Vassallo was on fire all night, scoring 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He was 3-of-5 from three-point range. He also had three assists and no turnovers. Vassallo was just three points away from setting a new career high in scoring. However, he sat down with 10 minutes remaining in the game, and didn’t return. Despite Vassallo not playing over the last 10 minutes, the Hokies kept scoring.
Joining Vassallo in double figures were three other Hokies. Malcolm Delaney had 13 points in 23 minutes. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range. Over his last three games, Delaney is 9-of-12 from the outside.
Deron Washington scored 11 points, all of which came in the second half. He also added nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double. Washington led the team with five assists, and he also had a steal. Freshman forward Jeff Allen had 10 points for Tech, while J.T. Thompson added nine.
Freshmen wings Dorenzo Hudson and Terrell Bell saw their minutes going up, playing 16 minutes and 15 minutes respectively. Hudson had six points, four rebounds and two steals. Bell had five points and three assists.
5-9 freshman point guard Hank Thorns scored five points and dished out three assists in 16 minutes. The shortest player on the team, Thorns also had his first career block during the game.
Believe it or not, this game was close in the early going. Morgan State was able to crash the boards and hit open jumpers in the opening eight minutes of the game. They led by as many as three points, and still led 16-14 with 12 minutes remaining in the first half following a Jermaine Bolden layup.
However, a jumper by Vassallo tied the game, and then a layup by Dorenzo Hudson put the Hokies ahead for good with 10:07 to play. Beginning with Vassallo’s jumper, Tech ended the half on a 26-9 run.
Morgan State attempted to slow down the Hokies by going with a 2-3 zone for part of the first half. However, that didn’t last long, as Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney scorched it for a combined six three-pointers in the first 20 minutes of play. That forced the Bears back into a man-to-man defense, and from there Tech’s superior high-major athletes took over the game.
With a 40-25 lead at halftime, the Hokies steadily pulled away in the second half. They led by as many as 33 points with 2:44 remaining, and coasted to the easy 94-62 win. Morgan State finished their season 22-11.
The Hokies have now won six of their last eight games, with their two losses coming by a combined three points to NCAA tournament teams Clemson and UNC.
Virginia Tech will face UAB in the second round of the NIT on Monday night. The game will be a 9:00 and will be televised on ESPN. The Blazers won at Virginia Commonwealth 80-77 on Wednesday night, and are a #5 seed in the NIT.