The Virginia Tech Hokies entered their 11th game with a three-game winning streak with just about every Hokie fan wondering how much they would beat Grambling State by ahead of a trip to Brooklyn to face Saint Joseph’s. Very few fans were worried about the Hokies overlooking their opponent or Grambling State being much of a challenge.
This game turned out to be a tale of two halves in which the Hokies showed how much better they are than Grambling State.
The Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Grambling State Tigers 87-52 despite the fact that they were only up 35-32 at halftime. Once again, the difference was the energy that was lacking in the first half, allowing for the Tigers to stay close. However, the Hokies collectively raised the energy in the second half and ran away from the Tigers.
The Hokies were led by Justin Bibbs who had a career-high 31 points and tied a school record with 7 made three-pointers. Bibbs brought a high-level of intensity while getting his shots in the second half especially from the beyond the arc where he thrived. Bibbs has developed into one of the most dangerous three-point shooters in college basketball, and this game was his latest example.
Bibbs is showing why he was playing for the U.S. Under-19 team this past summer, and is developing into the Hokies’ biggest scoring threat ahead of Seth Allen. Bibbs is ready for the big games that loom on the Hokies’ schedule and no one should expect his impressive shooting from beyond the arc to slow down anytime soon.
Zach LeDay was oddly kept out of action in the first half but when the junior big man played in the second half, he was absolutely dominant. LeDay injected plenty of energy into the game, and nearly had a double-double despite only playing in the second half with 14 points and 9 rebounds plus 2 blocks and 2 assists.
LeDay came in, and made a big difference in the second half that allowed for the Hokies to pull very far away from Grambling State in the second half.
Kerry Blackshear was once again productive for the Hokies with 11 points and 12 rebounds for his second career double-double. Blackshear has gained plenty of confidence over the past few games, and has given the Hokies a second big man to compliment LeDay in the frontcourt.
Seth Allen had another solid game with 13 points and 7 rebounds though he struggled from beyond the arc making only 1 of 7 three-point attempts. Justin Robinson may be emerging as the top point guard over Devin Wilson with Robinson having 8 points and 7 assists after getting the start. For now, Devin Wilson still seems to be the top point guard, but Robinson has showed plenty of potential.
Greg Donlon came in late for the Hokies and added four points and a rebound while Jalen Hudson had a disappointing game with only four points. Matt Galloway made the first start of his career alongside Robinson, Blackshear, Allen, and Shane Henry. Chris Clarke picked up an illness and was held out of the game by Buzz Williams.
This is another strong win for the Hokies, but we are about to learn how good this Virginia Tech team really is with a trip to Brooklyn to face Saint Joseph’s followed by a home game against West Virginia and the start of ACC play. The Hokies have made it through the early part of their schedule with a solid 8-3 record, but that could change quickly over the next few weeks.
The question remains whether this Virginia Tech team can bring postseason basketball back to Blacksburg this season? We will learn a lot about the answer to that question over the next few weeks.