Early on, Virginia Tech missed Justin Robinson heavily with an offense that lacked cohesion. Eventually though, the Hokies found their offensive rhythm and combined with NC State struggling shooting the basketball, put together a dominant win despite a painful first half performance.
No. 12 Virginia Tech blew out No. 23 N.C. State to improve to 18-3 on the season including 7-2 in ACC play. The win was the Hokies' first against a top 25 team in a true road game and second against a team currently in the AP top 25.
Virginia Tech wasn't great from the field shooting 35.6%, but NC State was much worse at an absolutely atrocious 16.7% from the field including 7.1% from three-point range. Virginia Tech picked their offensive play up after a nightmare start with only 3 second half turnovers and 12 on the day while having 8 steals.
Above all else, Virginia Tech limited possessions and controlled the tempo, keeping the Wolfpack out of rhythm and helping the Hokies blow out NC State. That tempo control kept NC State out of rhythm and eventually led to VT cruising to a victory with the tempo they wanted.
Virginia Tech's strong second half defensive performance helped hold the Wolfpack to only 24 points, the first time VT held a team under 30 points since 1959.
Player of the Game: Kerry Blackshear
Kerry Blackshear was the star of this game igniting the second half blowout with 9 points during an 11-0 run that gave the Hokies a double-digit lead that would only grow as the game went on. For the game, Blackshear finished with a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double which included 5 offensive rebounds. Blackshear was dominant early in the second half destroying any hopes of a possible comeback.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a solid performance with 11 points on 4-10 shooting along with 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. Alexander-Walker also had 5 turnovers, but only one came in the second half as VT's star sophomore became more comfortable in the flow of the game.
Wabissa Bede stepped up starting in place of the injured Justin Robinson with 9 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists on 3-4 shooting from three-point range. Meanwhile, Isaiah Wilkins stepped up with 7 rebounds (4 offensive) along with 5 points working as the Hokies' sixth man. Bede was one of three players to play all 40 minutes along with Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill.
Ahmed Hill's six-game double-digit point streak came to an end with 9 points and 2 rebounds while Ty Outlaw was cold having an 0-3 day from three-point range and finishing with 0 points and 6 rebounds. Jon Kabongo received limited playing time largely in the first half playing 5 minutes and having 1 rebound on 0-1 shooting.
Virginia Tech struggled offensively to start the game without Justin Robinson with multiple turnovers and only 2 points in the first 7 minutes of the game. Fortunately, NC State was also struggling shooting the basketball as badly as VT was overall on the offensive end in the early minutes with only 2 points in over 10 minutes of action.
Eventually, Virginia Tech started to find some offense without Robinson running the show while NC State terrible shooting start did eventually end. Despite having 9 turnovers, Virginia Tech eventually found some offensive cohesion, taking advantage of NC State's atrocious shooting to take a 20-14 lead.
There wasn't much good for the Hokies as they had 9 turnovers (compared to 4 for NC State), largely in the first 8-10 minutes of the opening half while also having an 8-4 offensive rebounding deficit and shooting 0-5 from the free-thow line. Despite all of that, VT benefited from NC State shooting 19.4% from the field and 7.1% (1-14) from three compared to 40% from the field and 33.3% (4-12) from 3 for VT.
Wabissa Bede led the Hokies in the first half with 6 points and 2 rebounds on 2-3 shooting from three-point range. Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 4 points and 3 steals, but also 4 turnovers in what was an up-and-down first half for the future first round pick.
The second half started out much different with the Hokies going on a 11-0 run led by 9 points from Kerry Blackshear to take a 33-19 lead with 13:59 to go. However, the slowing scored with only 1 point in the next 3 minutes before a media timeout forced by a Kerry Blackshear that forced him to leave the court for a few minutes before returning to the bench and the game a few seconds later.
Even with the injury, the Hokies extended their lead to 37-20 going into the under 8 media timeout at 7:52. Even after that, the Hokies kept opening up the score while N.C. State continue to have one of the worst offensive performances in ACC history, at least as far as we can assume. In the end, the Hokies put together a dominant blowout victory 47-24.
Virginia Tech cleaned things up on the offensive end and it showed as they only had 2 turnovers while the Wolfpack had 6 of their on. Virginia Tech's rebounding was also better with 5 second half rebounds while they also went a perfect 8-8 from the free-throw line. Above all else, VT's defense toughened up and NC State's shooting struggles stayed as the Wolfpack finished the game shooting 18.4% from the field.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
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