The Virginia Tech Hokies basketball team returned to action for the first time since their comeback win against Michigan on Wednesday night against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks.
The game started out slow, as both teams struggled to find any type of offensive rhythm. At the first media timeout, the Hawks actually had a lead at 7-5, and it didn't get much better during that stretch as it was only 12-9 at the second media timeout with just under 10 minute remaining in the half.
The game turned around after that, however, as Buzz Williams decided to play a full-court press and create havoc in the backcourt. It worked as the Hokies ended the half on a 26-7 run. The Hawks committed 11 turnovers, which the Hokies turned into 14 points -- including 12 fast break points.
The main leaders for the Hokies in the first half were Seth Allen and Zach LeDay. LeDay led the team with 13 points and also had five rebounds, in only 13 minutes. Allen took advantage of the Hawks moving to a 2-3 zone and connected on two very
wide open three pointers. He was second on the team in the half with eight points and chipped in four assists (a first half high as well).
In the second half, it seemed to be about the same story for the Hokies. Halfway through the 2nd half, the Hawks had scored almost 30 points and cut the lead to just 12 when Buzz Williams called a timeout. It seemed like this was due to a mixture of the 2-3 zone working more efficiently for UMES, and the fact that shots weren't falling for the Hokies.
The lead got as close as 9 in the 2nd half, but LeDay once again proved that he is the best player on this Hokies team. He converted two straight and-1 opportunities and played some great defense as well.
Stat leaders for this game were:
- Zach LeDay with 23 points
- Chris Clarke with 8 rebounds
- Seth Allen with 8 assists and a block (he grazed the halftime buzzer beater attempts but I guess that still counts)
The Hokies caused 15 turnovers overall and limited the Hawks to just 5 free throws. That type of frantic, disciplined defense will be important to really get down as they move towards ACC play.
Next up for the Hokies is Ole Miss on Sunday. It's their last remaining challenge in their out of conference schedule so the Hokies need to show up and play a good game against a quality SEC opponent.
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