Malcolm Delaney scored 13 of the Virginia Tech’s final 16 points and the Hokies used a 16-5 run to close the game and close out upset-minded Mount St. Mary’s 62-57 in a non-conference game played Monday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With the win, Tech moved to 2-0 on the season and 4-0 all-time against Mount St. Mary’s. The Mountaineers fell to 1-1 overall on the year.
“I thought we hung in there and sometimes you have to do that early in the season,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “To be able to hang in there and stay the course and grind and grind and then get stops, it’s just a credit to our guys.”
Tech trailed 52-46 following a basket by Mountaineers’ guard Jeremy Goode with 2:21 left to play. But Delaney, a sophomore from Baltimore, canned a 3-pointer with 2:10 to go to start the Hokies’ game-ending run.
He hit the first of two free-throw attempts with 1:40 remaining, but missed the second. Tech’s Jeff Allen, however, got the rebound and A.D. Vassallo drained a 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining to give Tech its first lead of the second half, 53-52.
Delaney then took care of the rest. He made nine straight free throws to end the game and hit 10-of-11 in the final two minutes. For the game, he scored a team-high 18 points, hitting 13-of-15 from the free-throw line. His performance was part of a 27-for-32 night at the stripe for the Hokies.
“I knew that if it came down to the clutch, I had to hit my free throws,” Delaney said. “I didn’t want it to come down to one possession and I miss a free throw and they hit a 3 to win the game. I knew I had to put the game away and keep the lead at four [points] or five.”
Vassallo added 15 points – 12 in the first half – for Tech and Allen narrowly missed a double-double with 13 points and nine boards. The Hokies shot just 33.3 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers, including four each by Allen and Vassallo.
“We don’t have very good flow and we’re not running very hard,” Greenberg said. “We’re not getting key rebounds so we can get out and run. We’ve got two positions that aren’t producing the way they need to produce and people are playing off that.
“For us to be a good team, we need [Terrell] Bell, [Hank] Thorns and [Dorenzo] Hudson to play well and they will. I have confidence they will. We need for those three to play well. I think you’ll see Victor [Davila] emerge and Lewis [Witcher] get better and Cheick [Diakite] will give us good minutes. Then we’ll become a team. But until those three guys [Bell, Thorns and Hudson] emerge, we’re going to struggle offensively. But I have confidence they will emerge.”
Jean Cajou paced the Mountaineers with 19 points and Goode added 11. The Mountaineers didn’t shoot much better than Tech, hitting just 36.7 percent from the floor.
Tech now heads to Puerto Rico to play three games in the Puerto Rico Tip-off in San Juan. The Hokies take on Fairfield on Thursday morning, with the tip-off slated for 11 a.m. Tech then plays on Friday and Sunday.
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