The Virginia Tech Hokies returned to the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night, taking on the Syracuse Orange and winning 83-73 in a big ACC conference game.
Early on, the story of the game was the Hokies going to the inside of the patented Boeheim 2-3 zone. While a zone can lend itself to open three-pointers, Virginia Tech started the game by going to Zach LeDay and Chris Clarke very often. This style of attack helped the Hokies jump out with a quick 10-2 run to open the lead to 18-9 with just over 12 minutes left in the 1st half.
Syracuse fought back after that, clamping down on defense and using their size advantage to score inside buckets, which in turn opened up several three-pointers for the Orange. The 1st half ended with a six-point lead for the Hokies at 37-31 as Virginia Tech held Syracuse to only six points over the last six minutes of the half. Chris Clarke scored a team-high 11 first half points, and Seth Allen returned to the lineup and hit a couple key three-pointers as well in the first half, ending with eight points.
In the 2nd half, the Hokies played much of the same, extending their lead to double digits several times including the biggest lead of 15. The inside baskets continued to be there for Virginia Tech, regardless of their smaller size, scoring 36 points in the paint over the entire game.
The big contributors for the Hokies were Clarke, LeDay, and Bibbs. Chris Clarke scored 17 points for the game, grabbed seven rebounds, and contributed with six assists. LeDay led the team with 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, and added an assist. Bibbs didn’t shoot all that well, as his shooting slump continued, but he did hit a couple three-pointers. The majority of his 18 points came from layups, dunks, and free throws. It was an important contribution nonetheless, as he also grabbed seven rebounds and dished three assists.
Virginia Tech had six turnovers, which is even more impressive when you realize that the Hokies had only one turnover midway through the 2nd half. At one point, the Hokies had an assist/turnover ratio of 5. They finished the game with a 3.3 ratio.
More key stats from the game include:
- 19 fastbreak points for the Hokies compared to 0 for the Orange
- 40% from the three-point line for Virginia Tech
- Seth Allen finished with just one turnover in his first game back
- Five players in double figures, including four starters
- First victory for Virginia Tech over Syracuse since 1978
Virginia Tech returns to action on Saturday, January 14 at 2 PM against #20 Notre Dame. It’s a big opportunity for the Hokies to continue to defend home court, where they’ve won 15 straight games dating back to last year. The game against the Irish will be a chance for the Hokies to prove they are still very much a contender in a loaded ACC.