December 20, 2008
    Hokies down Columbia, 64-52, in opening game of Holiday Festival
    Delaney scores 25 points in the win
    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY12T
    Columbia203252
    Virginia Tech 283664
    High Points: 25 - Malcolm Delaney
    High Rebounds: 9 - Malcolm Delaney, A.D. Vassallo

    NEW YORK, N.Y. Virginia Tech ended the first half on a 15-2 run and never trailed following intermission en route to a 64-52 victory against Columbia in the opening game of the 2008 Aeropostale Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon.

    The Hokies, now 7-4 overall, trailed early in the first half, but scored 15 of the last 17 points of the first period and took a 28-20 lead into the half. Columbia, now 3-6 overall, was able to keep the game within a workable margin during the second half, but could not make a significant run at the Hokies.

    Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 25 points, including 15 points in the first half. He also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and had four assists. A.D. Vassallo scored 16 points, 13 points coming after the intermission. He also grabbed nine rebounds and handed out four assists. Jeff Allen was the third Hokie in double figures, with 13 points and three blocked shots. Joe Bova scored 13 points and Jason Miller had 12 points off the bench to lead the Lions.

    The Hokies saw the return of sophomore forward J.T. Thompson, who had missed the first nine games of the season following surgery on Nov. 14 to correct a hernia. He also missed the last game due to a sprain in his left foot. Tech played the game without back-up point guard Hank Thorns, who suffered a first-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in practice on Wednesday. He is not expected to play on Sunday.

    Tech held Columbia to just 35.6 percent from the field and out rebounded the Lions, 43-32. Tech also registered seven blocked shots in the contest. The Hokies also outscored Columbia, 13-8, on second-chance points.

    The Hokies, the defending champion in the Aeropostale Holiday Festival, will play St. John’s in the tournament’s championship game at 2 p.m., on Sunday afternoon in a rematch of last season’s finale. St. John’s defeated Marist, 65-44, in the other first round game.

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

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