Buzz Williams adjusted his starting lineup and the Hokies got a big game from Christian Beyer as Virginia Tech defeated Alabama A&M 65-55 in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday. Tech improved to 5-4, while Alabama A&M dropped to 1-6.
Buzz Williams’ starting lineup looked like this…
Regular starters Devin Wilson and Malik Mueller did not play until late in the game, with each player only getting 11 minutes. Joey van Zegeren also only saw 10 minutes of playing time. The strategy worked, as Tech pulled away to a 16 point halftime lead. In fact, Alabama A&M had a short rally late in the game with the regular starters in the game.
Christian Beyer had a big game, with 13 points and nine rebounds. It was the first time a Virginia Tech walkon has scored 13 points in a game since Alex Martin had 13 at Syracuse in the finals of the 2000 Carrier Classic. Beyer had no points and no rebounds in just four minutes of action before Sunday’s game.
Will Johnston added eight points, while Shane Henry gave Tech a spark with six points and six rebounds off the bench. Freshman Justin Bibbs played his usual good game, scoring 11 points and finishing with four assists. With Wilson, Mueller and Jalen Hudson on the bench for much of the game, Bibbs was forced into point guard role, and he handled himself well.
Rebounding continued to be a problem for Tech, particularly when Christian Beyer wasn’t on the court. The Hokies were outrebounded 42-28, and only managed 16 defensive rebounds on 34 missed field goal attempts by Alabama A&M. Tech was also just 10-of-20 from the free throw line. On the good side, turnover margin appears to be improving, with just eight turnovers on the day, including only two in the first half.
A big 17-0 run to end the first half got the Hokies over the hump, and they were able to hold on for the win.
Virginia Tech returns to action next Saturday, December 20 when they host The Citadel. Tipoff is scheduled for 1pm, and the game can be seen online on ESPN3.
The video highlights below are courtsey of Niemo of TechHoops.com.