Hokies Split Two Games in the Emerald Coast Classic

Zach LeDay
Zach LeDay

Virginia Tech went 1-1 in the Emerald Coast Classic, losing 99-77 to #4 Iowa State on Friday night and defeating UAB 82-77 in overtime on Saturday. The Hokies are now 4-2 on the season as they return to Blacksburg to host Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten challenge.

Tech hung with Iowa State early, but a big run late in the first half gave the Cyclones a 52-30 halftime lead. The Hokies played them even (47-47) in the second half, but weren’t able to overcome their first half struggles on both ends of the court.

VT didn’t play good defense against Iowa State, and that issue was compounded by the fact that the Cyclones were very hot from the outside. They shot 13-of-21 (61.9%) from three-point range, and were 37-of-64 from the field overall.

Despite the loss, the Hokies did some good things. They outrebounded a very good team 38-36, and pulled down 15 offensive boards. They also got to the free throw line more, attempting 25 free throws to Iowa State’s 17. Unfortunately, they made only 12 of those 25 free throw attempts.

The standouts for the Iowa State game were…

Zach LeDay: 19 points, 8 rebounds (including 6 offensive rebounds)
Justin Robinson: 11 points, 5 rebounds

Less than 24 hours after losing to Iowa State in a fast paced game, Tech took on a UAB team that made the NCAA Tournament last year with former Hokie Robert Brown as their starting shooting guard. Brown is back this year, but the Blazers are struggling at the beginning of the year.

UAB led most of the first half, and took a 38-35 lead into halftime. Tech fought back in the second half, and it was a back and forth game. The lead changed hands eight times in the second half. The Hokies trailed by as many as eight points over those 20 minutes, and led by as many as five.

It appeared Tech was going to fall late in the game, but Zach LeDay pulled down a pair of offensive rebounds on his team’s final possession, and was finally fouled. He hit both free throws to tie the game at 71 with 17 seconds left, and the contest went into overtime.

The Hokies took the lead for good on a Seth Allen three-pointer with 3:51 remaining. Robert Brown did his best to try to beat his old team, scoring all six of UAB’s overtime points, but it wasn’t enough. Zach LeDay scored four points in the final 1:48, and Tech’s defense clamped down long enough to secure the victory.

Yet again, the Hokies attempted more free throws than their opponent. Tech was 24-of-32 (75%) from the charity stripe, while the Blazers were 10-of-18. VT also outrebounded UAB 46-30, and that includes 17 offensive rebounds. Two Tech players finished with double-doubles…

Zach LeDay: 15 points, 10 rebounds (4th double-double in six games)
Chris Clarke: 10 points, 16 rebounds

Buzz Williams went small for much of the game, using LeDay at center while Chris Clarke played as a fourth guard. Despite the lack of size, Buzz’s strategy clearly worked, as the rebounding numbers would suggest.

Seth Allen led the Hokies in scoring with 23 points. Devin Wilson added seven points and five assists.

Tech returns to action on Tuesday night when they host Northwestern and former Tech center Joey van Zegeren. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.