There was no let down from the Hokie seniors, or anyone else on Virginia Tech for that matter in the First Round of the Virginia Tech Invitational. The Hokies absolutely deep fried bethune-cookman at the Cassell in front of 2,900 paid fans (though there were about 5,000 there), winning 79-54. The hunt for 69 is on! Tech led by as many as 32 in this woodshed-beating. Get your Jager, Red Bull, Guinness, and Bailey’s ready — it is a St. Patty’s Day Bear Fight!
The Hokies had five guys in double figures to lead a balanced onslaught. Jeff Allen led the way with 19 (9/14 shooting) while Malcolm Delaney chipped in 13, Manny Atkins 12, Erick Green 11, and Terrell Bell 10. Erick Green also dished out a career high 8 assists on the night. Tech also got 24 (count’em… 24) points off the bench (we have a bench?!). In addition to Atkins 12, VT got 7 from Tyrone Garland (who played 23 minutes) and 5 from Paul Debnam (who played 12 minutes… including perhaps his second ever first half appearance).
But it was Tech’s three scholarship seniors that brought the wood tonight and turned this game into a laugher quickly, hitting 10 of 11 shots to start the game. Malcolm Delaney hit three 3-pointers in the first five minutes, and Jeff Allen had 10 points by the halfway mark of the first half. In fact, the senior law firm of Allen, Bell, and Delaney tallied 17 of Tech’s first 19 points.
The Hokies absolutely dominated a couple of key stats: points off turnovers and points in the paint, outscoring b-c 21-4 and 40-20 respectively. That was thanks in large part to the Big Donut. Simply put, Jeff Allen took what Jeff Allen wanted tonight. He looked like King Kong playing against kittens. And congratulations to Jeff Allen – with his blocked shot in the first half, he became the first ACC player ever to get to 1600 points, 1000 rebounds, 200 steals, and 150 blocks!
The Tech senior class tied the record for most wins in a four year span with 87! They’ll look to break that record this weekend in the NIT Second Round. The Hokies will host the shockers of wichita state, who husked nebraska 76-49 (ouch), on Sunday morning at 11 AM. It’s Breakfast in Blacksburg!
The Hokies were up 23-12 by the second media timeout (under 12 minutes) and led by 22 with five minutes to go in the half (39-17). They led by as many as 23 in the first half before the (who are we?) wildcats finished the half on a 5-0 run to close the gap to 42-24 at the break.
Jeff Allen led the Hokies in the first half with 12. Delaney chipped in 9 (all on 3-pointers in the first five minutes), and Manny Atkins had 9 off the bench.
The Hokies had 12 assists in the first half on 19 made field goals (19/31 – 61% first half shooting). Tech shot 56% for the game, hitting 33/59. And yes, VT won the 3-point % battle (35% to 30%), meaning for the 18th straight VT game the team that shot a higher percentage from behind the arc won. VT had 7 makes to 6 by b-c (both had 20 attempts).
Victor Davila, nursing an injury, sat the entire second half. In fact, at times, Terrell Bell was the Hokies’ “big man”.
C.J. Reed, the big MEAC Player of the Year (and son of the head coach) was held to 10 points, almost half his average. Garrius “I ain’t no” Holloman “back girl” had 20 to lead the wildcats, who shot 43% from the floor but had 13 turnovers compared to just 6 by the Hokies. VT had 7 steals, compared to just 1 for b-c (who came into this game as one of the top teams in the nation in terms of protecting the ball).
Random Stat: The Hokies senior class finished their career 12-1 in tournament openers (4-0 in NIT openers, 3-1 in the ACC Tourney opener, and 5-0 in all other tournament openers). VT has won 14 of their last 15 tournament openers.
Plays of the Game:
- Malcolm Delaney on the break made a between-the-legs pass to Tyrone Garland for what I believe was his first collegiate dunk.
- Erick Green grabbing a missed 3-pointer in mid-air and flushing it down with two hands.
- Paul Debnam driving to his right, then ducking up-and-under to his left for a layup off the glass.
Random, Needless Rap Reference: Any idea what bethune-cookman’s colors were? You know what it is… black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow.