While most of the attention is on the Camping World Bowl today, Virginia Tech men's basketball finished up non-conference play with a game against North Carolina A&T. While NC A&T looks like an early favorite in the MEAC, the Hokies were overwhelming favorites and controlled this game as you would expect.
Virginia Tech beat North Carolina A&T 76-59 in a game that wasn't close after the first media timeout of the game. The win moves the Hokies to 11-2 ahead of the start of ACC play while the Aggies fell to 7-8 on the season.
The Hokies dominated the first half leading 38-20 at the half which was largely due to a strong defensive half. VT held the Aggies to a poor 24.1% shooting while the Hokies shot 58.1% from the field in a first half where the game was never close outside of the first few minutes. VT did have some turnover issues today with 12 in the game, but 4 of those came before the first media timeout. Virginia Tech finished the game shooting 49.2% from the field including 80% from the line while outrebounding NC A&T 39-30 including 8-7 on the offensive glass.
Ahmed Hill led the charge for the Hokies with 14 points and 3 rebounds. While the Hokies shot 6-23 from three-point range as a team, Hill was the one Hokie shooting well from deep going 4-7 from beyond the arc. Hill has stepped up as a featured scorer for the Hokies and having him shooting well could be extremely important against the Syracuse zone Sunday.
Kerry Blackshear was effective with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists while being able to simply have his way in the post at times. PJ Horne also played well with 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 block while going 3-4 from the field and 4-4 from the free-throw line. Horne's continue improvement will be vital for the Hokies while Blackshear only having one foul is also encouraging given the need for him to stay out of foul trouble.
Chris Clarke stuffed the stat sheet today as he had 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and a team high 3 steals in this game. Clarke is clearly at 100% and his ability to do all the little things well will make a big difference in ACC play.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Hokies with 8 rebounds that tied his career high, and also had 5 points, 1 block, and 1 steal. Justin Bibbs and Justin Robinson were both fairly quiet but effective as Bibbs had 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists while Robinson had 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Tyrie Jackson was solid with 8 points and 1 rebound while Wabissa Bede had a quiet game with 1 rebound and Justin Ammerman made a late free throw.
Virginia Tech took care of business against a North Carolina A&T team that could end up being a decent win for helping improve the non-conference strength of schedule. Now, the Hokies head into ACC play starting with a tough trip to Syracuse that gives VT a big opportunity to pick up their best win of the season so far.
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