The Virginia Tech Hokies are less than two weeks away from kicking off ACC play at home in a big New Year’s Eve showdown against Duke, but faced another small program in Charleston Southern in what was a game that the Hokies were expected to win easily.
After another slow start, the Hokies were able to find a big first half run and cruise to a big victory.
Virginia Tech beat Charleston Southern 87-59 with the Hokies having a 15-2 run to end the first half that opened Virginia Tech’s lead up before VT closed out the game well to get the lead up to as much as 30 before a late layup put it at 28. At 10-1, the Hokies likely will still be just outside the top 25 with Charleston Southern now being 4-7 unless a couple teams in the lower part of the top 25 get upset before Christmas.
Free-throw shooting was critical for the Hokies tonight as the Hokies went 31-for-37 from the free-throw line in what was their best free-throw shooting performance of the season and a very positive sign before the start of the ACC play. Virginia Tech did had a bad night from beyond the arc as they went 6-for-23 from deep with 3 of those threes coming late in the game while the Hokies outrebounded CSU 43-40 but CSU had more offensive rebounds 14-10.
Virginia Tech’s lack of size is something that the Hokies will have to figure out how to handle better especially with bigger ACC teams looming that will force the Hokies to be much better at boxing out if they want to not have rebounding be a significant problem.
Chris Clarke followed us his triple-double with a double-double as Clarke had 17 points and 11 rebounds plus 3 steals and 2 assists while going 6-for-8 from the field and 5-for-8 from the free-throw line. Clarke’s game has made a lot of improvement this season with Clarke not only improving his ball handler but developing into a great attacking player along with being quite effective working as a forward and crashing the glass while also using his athleticism well on the defensive end to force turnovers.
Clarke has become a very good player and if he is able to develop an outside shooting game, Clarke will be one of the ACC’s best players and a first round NBA Draft pick.
Ahmed Hill led the Hokies in scoring tonight with 20 points as he went 5-for-12 from the field and a very good 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, but Hill struggled from beyond the arc shooting 2-for-6 from deep. Hill has really stepped his offensive game up this season, and has become a much more complete player that can score on the outside or as he showed tonight, attack the rim and either draw a foul, get a layup, or get a three-point play.
Zach LeDay was productive tonight with 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting with 7 rebounds while Seth Allen had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists with Justin Robinson having 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists. Khadim Sy had 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks with Ty Outlaw having 3 points and 5 rebounds. Justin Bibbs struggled as he was held scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting including 0-for-5 shooting from three while also having 3 rebounds.
Virginia Tech fans were energized by two big moments with Greg Donlon playing for the first time this season while Matt Galloway scored for his first time of the season with a three plus a rebound as well.
Virginia Tech took care of business mostly because of their impressive 15-2 run to end the first half along with their strong finish to the game while seeming to sleepwalk through much of the game and still keep it slightly in VT’s favor in those moments. The late first half run and strong closing stretch made the big difference for the Hokies in the final margin with Virginia Tech doing what they needed to do to get a blowout victory over Charleston Southern.
Virginia Tech’s strong non-conference performance is almost complete with the Hokies a win over UMBC away from getting to the 11-1 record that has the Hokies already in strong position to make the NCAA Tournament and not have to worry about being on the bubble either.
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