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December 21, 2008
Hokies defend Holiday Festival title with 81-67 win over St. John's
Delaney named tournament MVP
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY12T
Virginia Tech 394281
St. John's353267
High Points: 24 - A.D. Vassallo
High Rebounds: 10 - Jeff Allen, JT Thompson

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Virginia Tech used a strong second half performance to claim an 81-67 win over St. John’s to successfully defend their title in the 2008 Aeropostale Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden on Sunday evening.

The Hokies, now 8-4 overall, took a 39-35 lead into the intermission, but used a balanced attack to outscore the Red Storm, 42-32 in the second half. St. John’s, now 9-2 on the season, was able to keep the game close in the early stages of the second half, but the 1-3-1 zone and the clutch shooting of Tech’s backcourt helped the Hokies secure the win.

“I thought our guys did a good job of it,” head coach Seth Greenberg said. “That was a good team win. We are not where we need to be but we are obviously a lot better than we were yesterday.”

Malcolm Delaney won the Lou Carnesecca Award, given annually to the tournament Most Valuable Player. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate A.D. Vassallo, who was the winner of the Carnesseca Award last season. Delaney scored 25 points and had nine rebounds in the Hokies’ first round win over Columbia, 64-52, on Saturday afternoon.

Vassallo scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Hokies and Delaney added 22 points, along with a career-high five steals and a career-high-tying eight assists in the victory. Jeff Allen recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. J.T. Thompson, making just his second appearance of the season, grabbed 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.

Tech used a 10-0 run off of offensive rebounds and three-point baskets to take control midway through the second half. Vassallo and Delaney each had a three-pointer in the run that made it 57-45 with 13:50 to play. One of those threes and the other two field goals in the spurt came after the Hokies grabbed an offensive rebound. The Hokies finished with a 42-34 advantage on the boards.

Paris Horne had 14 points for the Red Storm, who had a seven-game winning streak snapped. Sean Evans and D.J. Kennedy each added 13 points for SJU and Rob Thomas added 12 points.

The Hokies return to action on Dec. 29, as they travel to play Charleston Southern at the North Charleston Coliseum. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. and will be televised by regional sports networks.

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

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