Virginia Tech picked up a big win in Madison Square Garden on Friday afternoon, downing Oklahoma State 59-57 to take third place in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Hokies are now 4-1 on the season, while the Cowboys dropped to 3-2.
Oklahoma State got up 8-0 early, but the Hokies stormed back, going on a 21-4 run that was capped by a Ty Garland running layup to put Tech up 21-12 with 6:40 remaining in the first half. The Hokies led by as many as 11 points in the first half and the second half, and though the Cowboys chipped away at the lead over the final few minutes, Seth Greenberg’s team hung on to win.
Tech had been struggling on the boards this year, but the outrebounded Oklahoma State 45-37 and managed to pull down 21 offensive rebounds. The Hokies scored 22 second chance points, which was the difference in the game.
Erick Green led the Hokies with 18 points, going 6-of-12 from the field. Freshman forward Dorian Finney-Smith had the third double-double of his career with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Finney-Smith pulled down eight offensive rebounds.
Robert Brown came off the bench to provide a big 24 minutes, finishing with eight points while playing great defense. Cadarian Raines pulled down nine rebounds and blocked three shots to go along with his three points, and four of his rebounds came on the offensive end.
Another Achilles heel for the Hokies had been turnovers, but they were much better at hanging onto the ball on Black Friday. After a sloppy start, Tech committed only 11 turnovers for the game. They also converted 11 Oklahoma State turnovers into 16 points, while the Cowboys had just points off turnovers.
Tech’s bench combined to score 18 points, while the Oklahoma State reserved managed just seven.
This was the first of two meetings between the Hokies and Cowboys this season. They will also play each other in Stillwater on New Year’s Eve at noon on ESPN2.
Tech has a quick turnaround, as they’ll face St. Bonaventure in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday evening at 6pm. The game can be seen online on ESPN3.com.