BLACKSBURG, Va. – Five Hokies scored in double figures led by Erick Green’s game-high 17 points to help Virginia Tech dismantle visiting Mount St. Mary’s, 99-34, Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum in its final game before continuing ACC play this upcoming weekend.
The Hokies shot a school-record 69.2 percent from the floor as all 10 players that saw the court for Tech scored. They also registered their second-greatest margin of victory (81, vs. Washington & Lee, 1/9/59) and greatest margin at Cassell, while they also held the Mountaineers to just 17 percent shooting, the lowest ever for a Tech opponent.
“I am very pleased with the way we’ve handled this series of games, pre-Christmas, post-Christmas, and post-New Years, which I think are the toughest for all basketball teams to handle,” said Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg. “After the first three minutes of the game, I thought we handled ourselves with poise.
“The first three minutes of the game were absolutely horrendous; we had four turnovers in the first five possessions. After that, I thought we settled in and took better care of the basketball. I was most pleased with how unselfish we were; everyone was making the extra pass and sharing the ball.”
Helping the Hokies to their fifth straight win was Jeff Allen, who notched his sixth double-double of the season, fourth in the last five games, with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while also adding four steals, three assists, and two blocks to his totals.
For Allen, it was an afternoon of chart moving as he climbed into the 18th spot in scoring all-time at the school (1411) and fifth in rebounding (907). He entered the day tied for fifth in steals, but is now all alone with 205, and his 138 blocks also currently ranks him fifth in that category.
“It feels pretty good to know that,” said Allen of his numbers. “I think my quickness and my length and the way I can anticipate helps me do a lot of that. I think it’s special to be in the top five in steals as a power forward.”
“If you look at the depth of his game and the different ways he affects the game, how can you not say he wasn’t one of the most productive players in the history of this school,” said Greenberg about Allen. “He is having a complete career and we still have a lot of basketball to play.”
Other significant Hokie numbers from the day include Green’s career-high, his fifth straight game with at least 10 points, to go with four assists and two steals, Malcolm Delaney’s 12 points, five assists, and two steals, Tyrone Garland’s season-high 16 points, Manny Atkins career-high 12 points and five steals, and Terrell Bell’s career-high five blocks.
In the first half alone, the Hokies started with a 7-0 run, scored the last 13 points before the break, and used three separate 9-0 spurts to race out to a 39-point lead heading into the locker rooms.
“We really shared the ball, we looked for the open man, we didn’t force any shots and we got a lot of assists” said Delaney. “We also picked up our defense and got some steals to get the fast-break going and score some easy baskets.”
Recapping the five runs by Tech – Delaney scored five of the team’s seven points in run number one; Garland capped the second with a pair of lay-ups; the third run was started and ended with a pair of made free throws by Allen; and Green scored five in run four and six in the final one to give the team a 50-11 lead.
Tech (9-4) missed just nine of its 28 shots, for a 67.9% shooting in the first opposed to the Mountaineers 4-for-24 (16.7%) shooting. The Hokies also forced 13 turnovers resulting in 22 points and 11 on fast breaks.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Tech missed just seven shots, forced 12 turnovers and scored 17 points off them including 15 fast-break points. Every available Hokie saw action including Andrew Griffin, who entered with 8:27 left in the contest, the first minutes of his career, and scored a basket, blocked a shot, and grabbed a rebound.
“I’m not sure how great our defense played today, I’ve got to be honest with you,” said Greenberg. “At times, we did some nice things. We were good on ball screens; we were better on the ball. I just wanted to get some energy from our guys.
“I watched Mount St. Mary’s on film and Penn State had to make a buzzer shot to beat them … So, I didn’t expect this, but we made shots.”
Mount St. Mary’s (3-12) was led by Lamar Trice, who hit five three-pointers on his way to 16 points and also added two steals. Jacolby Wells pulled down a team-high eight rebounds for the Mountaineers.
It was the 499th victory for the Hokies in Cassell Coliseum, and they will go for win number 500 against Florida State. The match-up tips at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Ironically, the Hokies played their 600th career game in Cassell against the Seminoles in 2008.
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