December 14, 2008
Allen's big game lifts Hokies over Longwood
By Jimmy Robertson
12F
Longwood (5-5) 213657
Virginia Tech (6-4) 374279
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,847
  • High Points: 21 - A.D. Vassallo
  • High Rebounds: 21 - Jeff Allen

Jeff Allen had a monster game and the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team used a big run late in the second half to put away Longwood, downing the Lancers 79-57 in a non-conference game played Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.

With the win, Tech moved to 6-4 overall on the season. Longwood, which saw its two-game winning streak come to an end, fell to 5-5.

Allen, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound sophomore from Washington, D.C., dominated the smaller Lancers inside. He scored 19 points, hitting 7-of-11 from the floor and 5-of-9 from the free-throw line, and he grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds. He surpassed his previous career high of 17 rebounds, which he recorded in the Seton Hall game at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan earlier this season.

“They were a small team,” Allen said. “Coach [Greenberg] told us we needed to pick up our rebounding and I felt like I needed to get a lot more rebounds. So that’s what I did. They didn’t crash the boards, and Coach thought before the game that we needed to crash the boards, so we did.”

Despite Allen’s presence, the Lancers managed to stay in the game, and they sliced Tech’s 16-point halftime lead to five, 52-47, on a free throw by Dana Smith with 11:38 remaining.

But the Hokies controlled the game after that. Keyed by A.D. Vassallo, Tech went on a 20-3 run over the next eight minutes to put the game away. The senior from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico scored 11 of those 20 points in that run and finished with a game-high 21. He hit 7-of-12 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also drained all four of his free-throw attempts and added nine rebounds.

“We got some open shots and knocked some shots down,” Vassallo said of the Hokies’ run. “We did a good job of rebounding and that helped us get down the floor. We ran our offense a little better. We were more athletic and started driving the ball and that’s when we went on that big run.”

Both Malcolm Delaney and Terrell Bell finished with 12 points each. Bell’s 12-point effort was the sophomore’s career high, surpassing the nine points he scored against Duke back in January.

The Lancers stayed in the game largely because of the Hokies’ turnovers. Tech committed a season-high 23 turnovers, including six by Allen and four by reserve point guard Hank Thorns.

“I don’t think the turnovers had nothing to do with anything more than us being immature,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We just weren’t strong with the ball. We were soft. They made their run because we helped them make their run. It was just pure immaturity. We weren’t as tough as we needed to be, but it’s all correctable.”

Smith led the Lancers with 13 points, while Antwan Carter added 10. Longwood shot just 29.9 percent from the floor – a season low for a Tech opponent.

The Hokies will now take the rest of the week off to finish up with exams. Tech’s next game is Saturday at the Aeropostale Holiday Festival in New York City. The Hokies will take on Columbia in a game slated to tip off at 2 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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