Virginia Tech played a sloppy game on Thursday afternoon, but managed to defeat USC Upstate 64-53 in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies are now 8-4 on the season, while the Spartans are 2-10.
Tech was led by Malcolm Delaney, who scored 17 points in 39 minutes. The senior guard also had five assists, two steals, one block and just one turnover. Making his fourth start, Erick Green scored in double figures. He finished with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals in 33 minutes. Once again, Green did not commit a turnover, which means he went the entire month of December without a turnover.
Jeff Allen did not commit a single foul in this game, and he played 37 minutes. Allen finished with a double-double, 16 points and 15 rebounds. He was 5-of-10 from the field, and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line.
The Hokies shot 45.3% from the field, but made just 2-of-14 (14.3%) three-point baskets. USC Upstate played zone the entire game, but Tech couldn’t knock down enough outside jumpers to pull away to a big margin of victory.
Tech played good defense for the most part, holding the Spartans to just 53 points and forcing 18 turnovers. The Hokies committed only nine turnovers of their own, and only five of those came from the starters. Reserve forward Manny Atkins had four turnovers in 13 minutes. Atkins also had four points and three rebounds.
The only other scoring that came from Tech’s thin bench was a three-pointer by freshman guard Ty Garland. Garland played seven minutes.
The Hokies used their superior athleticism to win the turnover battle and beat the Spartans in transition. Tech outscored USC Upstate 24-3 off turnovers, and 16-8 in fastbreak points.
Tech jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the Spartans went on a run and took a 10-7 lead on a three-pointer by Chandler Hash with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half. USC Upstate actually led for much of the first half. They led by as many as seven points when Torrey Craig nailed a jumper to put his team up 25-18 with 5:34 remaining.
The Hokies reclaimed the lead late in the half on back-to-back transition baskets by Erick Green. Tech led 29-27 after Green’s scores, and eventually took a 34-29 lead into halftime.
The Spartans were never able to reclaim the lead or tie the game in the second half. Tech led by as many as 14 points, 64-50, following two free throws by Jeff Allen. A three-pointer by Shane Porchea with just seconds remaining in the game made the final score 64-53.
Tech returns to action on Sunday when they host Mount St. Mary’s. Tip-off is scheduled for 2pm, and the game will not be televised.