The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team scored on its final 15 possessions and used some stellar free-throw shooting down the stretch to break away from Elon 76-67 in a non-conference game played Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With the win, the Hokies moved to 4-2 overall on the season. Elon, which was picked to finish second in the Southern Conference’s North Division, fell to 1-3.
Elon’s Ola Atoyebi’s basket with 8:46 remaining tied the game at 47. But two possessions later, the Hokies started their game-ending run. Victor Davila’s free throw with 7:48 to go enabled the Hokies to retake the lead for good.
Most of Tech’s points down the stretch came from the free-throw line, as the Hokies hit their final 14 attempts. Elon kept fouling Tech point guard Malcolm Delaney and the sophomore from Baltimore nailed all 12 of his attempts – all in the final 2:12. For the game, Tech hit 23-of-28 from the stripe, which helped them put Elon away.
“I just told our guys that the two toughest games to play are the one before Thanksgiving and the one after Christmas,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “So I was proud of my guys. We hung in there and finally went on a run at the end.”
The Hokies placed four players in double figures, with both A.D. Vassallo and Davila leading the way at 16 points apiece. The point total marked a career high for Davila, the 6-foot-8, 245-pound freshman from Puerto Rico. He came off the bench and hit 7-of-9 from the floor and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes.
“The coaches told me before the game to just go out and play my game,” Davila said. “I’m more confident now than I was before [earlier in the season]. Now I feel like I’m more into the flow of the game.”
“We got him the ball,” Greenberg said. “We’ve got to get him the ball. The guy can score. He understands how to score. But he’s got to rebound. He’s got to be a lot tougher rebounding the ball and defending the post. But he can score.”
Delaney added 15 points for the Hokies, while Jeff Allen chipped in 12 points and nine rebounds. Tech out-rebounded Elon 42-27.
Brett James led all scorers with 19 points for the Phoenix. He hit 5-of-13 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc, and he hit 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. But Elon, as a team, struggled from the stripe, missing 11 free throws (21-of-32) – it came into the game shooting just 57.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Atoyebi added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Phoenix, while Adam Constantine had 13 points.
The Hokies, who just concluded a brutal stretch of playing six games in 13 days, now gear up for a major tussle. Tech will take on Wisconsin on Monday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Tip-off for the game is slated for 7 p.m., with the game being televised on ESPN2.
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