Virginia Tech responded to several Iowa runs, took control on the glass, and eventually ran the Hawkeyes out of the gym 95-79 on Tuesday night. The Hokies are now 6-0 for the first time since 1982-83. All three of Tech’s wins in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge have come at the expense of Iowa. The Hawkeyes dropped to 5-2 with the loss.
“That’s a very good ball club that we just beat,” head coach James Johnson said. “That team is going to win a lot of games this year. We came out, we were ready to play, and our guys stepped up to the challenge.”
The game was close early, until the Hokies went on a late first half run to go up 46-38 at the break. After a great start to the second half, Tech led 53-38, but the Hawkeyes stormed back. They went on a 16-4 run to cut the score to 57-54 with 12 minutes remaining. However, Tech responded by going on a quick 12-4 run to go back up 69-58 with 9:02 left in the game.
Iowa would only get as close as nine points from that point, at the 6:06 mark. Tech went on an 8-1 run to go up 84-68, and led by as many as 21 points (93-72) down the stretch before finally winning by 16.
Iowa came into the game averaging 15 offensive rebounds per game, and rebounding had been a weakness for Tech up until Tuesday night. The Hokies outrebounded the Hawkeyes 36-30. C.J. Barksdale and Jarell Eddie each had 11 points and seven rebounds each, while Cadarian Raines had nine points and six boards. Tech actually outscored Iowa 13-2 in second chance points.
“I…I guess [that was the best game I’ve ever played at Tech],” Barksdale said after the game. “We have a lot of games to go. Of course I’m proud of myself, but I’m not going to get complacent.”
Joey van Zegeren came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points, and he also pulled down three offensive rebounds.
“I think we had a very good week of practice,” van Zegeren noted. “Everything we do in practice, whether it’s after-practice film or rehab…like this morning I was out shooting free throws with the coaches, and my free throws went in tonight.”
As a team, the Hokies made 27-of-30 shots from the free throw line. On the season, they are shooting at a 77.2% clip from the charity stripe.
The competition will increase this Saturday, when #15 Oklahoma State visits Blacksburg.
“It should be a good game,” van Zegeren said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll prepare good for it, and we’ll be ready when they come.”
Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm on Saturday in Cassell Coliseum, and the game can be viewed online on ESPN3.