Photo Credit: Liam Sment
24th ranked Virginia Tech won their final non-conference regular season game Monday night, beating Longwood 84-58.
The contest was much more competitive than many expected, especially considering the Hokies entered this game as 24 point favorites.
In the middle of the first half, the Hokies went on a 16-2 run to take a thirteen point lead over the Lancers, powered by a pair of threes from Jalen Cone and a David N’Guessan dunk.
Longwood responded quickly, going on a 22-11 run of its own to cut Virginia Tech’s lead to four before halftime. Despite missing 11 of its last 12 three point attempts before the break, the Hokies led 34-30 at the half.
“The first half definitely was a little frustrating, but we just locked in and tried to do our best defensively,” said junior forward Keve Aluma.
The Hokies were able to do just that in the second half, out scoring the Lancers by 22. Virginia Tech shot nearly 60% from the field in the second half, including six made threes.
Winning the turnover battle was key for the Hokies as the team only gave the ball away eight times compared to Longwood’s fifteen total giveaways.
“You can’t turn the ball over. To be eight games in and overall on the year, we have a negative assist-turnover ratio, I’m not sure that I’ve ever had a team do that,” said head coach Mike Young after the game.
One player who contributed to the improvement was senior guard Wabissa Bede, who tallied eight assists with zero turnovers on the night.
“He’s a good PG. He sees things before they happen, so excited that he’s able to get back in the flow of that,” Aluma praised Bede.
“Bede had a phenomenal night tonight… phenomenally controlled the floor, controlled the offense. He was really the floor general tonight, controlled the whole game,” said Jalen Cone.
Cone had an impressive game in his own right, leading all Hokie scorers with 18 points, including six threes. Aluma also had 14 points to go with three blocks and two steals while Joe Bamisile had 11 points in five minutes. Tyrece Radford led Tech with 8 rebounds to go with 9 points.
Virginia Tech returns to the ACC portion of their schedule next week when they host Miami on 12/29 at 6PM.