Virginia Tech Beats Saint Francis 85-55 to Improve to 4-0

Virginia Tech Beats Saint Francis 85-55 to Improve to 4-0
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

Jawhar Ali | @soundslikejafar

TLP: Writer
Nov 19, 2021

After a sloppy offensive game against the Highlanders, the Hokies (4-0) looked to put in a much sharper effort against St. Francis PA. Instead, they turned in an almost identical performance in a convincing 85-55 win.

For the first ten minutes, Tech simply could not buy a bucket, particularly for Keve Aluma. The senior forward has been excellent this season in all aspects but shooting, as he missed on four consecutive three-point attempts and started 0-of-5 from the field. The Hokies relied on Naheim Alleyne’s smooth scoring ability to carry them early on, as he finished the first half with 9 points and 18 points for the game. Virginia Tech was able to enter the bonus early and rely on the free throw line getting 10 of their first 34 points from the charity stripe.

As poor as their offense was in a 7-of-23 start from the field, Tech was stifling once again on defense. St. Francis PA shot just 8-of-28 from the field in the first half and the Hokies limited their open looks from behind the arc. Tech limited St. Francis to 33.3 percent from the field for the game, evidence of Tech’s tight defense.

In the second half, Mike Young made a concerted effort to get Aluma going and allowed him to shoot the ball closer to the basket. The first play out of the half, Aluma got in an iso situation and was able to draw a foul. He was also featured on a baseline pin down where he was able to get the ball with a clear line to the basket leading to another trip to the line. This led to a mostly successful second half as Aluma finished with 18 points. It might be a lesson learned for the coaching staff – while Aluma has the ability to be a jump shooter, he needs to be around the rim to allow the team to be truly successful.

It was an off-shooting night from three for the Hokies overall. The ball movement was crisp, particularly in the second half, which led to open looks that Tech could not cash. Virginia Tech ended the game just 7-of-20 from behind the arc, but it should probably not be concerning. Shooting varies night to night in college basketball, but the quality of shot attempts often does not. Tech still got positive shooting nights from Darius Maddox (3-of-3 3-pt FG), Storm Murphy (1-of-2 3-pt FG), and Naheim Alleyne (7-of-10 FG).

Overall, this was a win that showed both how good this Virginia Tech team is and areas to improve. They can be careless with the rock at times and allow inferior teams to hang around with bad shot selection. However, they also beat their opponent by 30 after posting a 51-point second half. The Hokies have multiple ways to score, and their defense has been solid to start the season. Of course, there are tougher upcoming litmus tests on the schedule.

The Hokies host Merrimack (2-2) as they look to go into their showdown with No. 12 Memphis next week with an undefeated record.