Virginia Tech never trailed in their opening game of the 2016 ACC Tournament, knocking off #11 seed Florida State 96-85 in Washington, DC on Wednesday night. The Hokies improved to 19-13 overall, and they will face #3 seed Miami on Thursday night. The Seminoles dropped to 19-13 on the season.
It was an extra-long night for Tech fans. First the 7pm game between Clemson and Georgia Tech went to overtime, and then they had to sit through a game in which the officials called a total of 53 fouls. It was worth it, however, as the Hokies advanced to the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals.
Tech didn’t exactly dominate the game, as the Seminoles were competitive for most of the night. Still, the Hokies never trailed from start to finish, and the game was tied only once at the 12:43 mark. That tie lasted for all of 25 seconds before a three-pointer by Justin Bibbs gave the Hokies the lead again. He was one of four Tech players to score in double figures, including…
Seth Allen: 20 points, 5-of-9 FG, 10-of-12 FT
Justin Robinson: 18 points, 4-of-7 FT, 1-of-1 3Pt, 9-of-10 FT
Justin Bibbs: 16 points, 5-of-14 FG, 4-of-9 3Pt, 2-of-2 FT
However, the star of the night for Tech was the undersized Zach LeDay. With Kerry Blackshear in foul trouble (he would eventually foul out in just 15 minutes), LeDay had to play a lot of center against a Florida State team that had a lot of size on the inside. He didn’t back down, and finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and no turnovers in 34 minutes of action.
Chris Clarke and Kerry Blackshear chipped in with nine points each.
The Hokies had 18 assists to just nine turnovers during the game, and their ball movement on offense continued to be very impressive. Time after time, Tech found the open man, whether he was outside the three-point line or in the lane. They shot 53.7% from the field as a team, including a 60% mark in the first half.
Virginia Tech attacked the rim relentlessly as usual. That combined with a whistle-happy second half from the officials meant that Wednesday night’s game became a free throw shooting competition. Though both teams had nearly the same amount of attempts, the Hokies shot a much higher percentage…
Virginia Tech: 30-of-37 (81.1%)
Florida State: 21-of-35 (60%)
The Seminoles did a lot of things right. They pulled down 17 offensive rebounds and committed just four turnovers, but in the end they didn’t get as many good point-blank looks at the basket as the Hokies, and they didn’t convert nearly as many trips to the free throw line. Though the game was close for much of the second half, Tech gradually pulled away and led by as many as 17 points with 8:25 remaining. There was never a time for Hokie fans to be nervous over the final minutes.
Tech has now won six straight conference games. That’s the first time that’s happened since they joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season.
Virginia Tech will return to action on Thursday night when they take on #3 seed Miami. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, or approximately 20-30 minutes after the 7pm game between UVA and Georgia Tech concludes. ESPN and the ACC Network will carry the game.