November 15, 2011
Hokies advance to Madison Square Garden with win over FIU
By Jimmy Robertson
Florida International (1-1) 263763
Virginia Tech (3-0) 334578
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 3,148
  • High Points: 31 - Dorenzo Hudson
  • High Rebounds: 10 - Dorian Finney-Smith

BLACKSBURG – Dorenzo Hudson scored a game-high 31 points and the Virginia Tech Hokies led from the opening tip en route to a 78-63 victory over Florida International in a second-round NIT Season Tip-Off game played Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum.

With the victory, the Hokies (3-0) advanced to the semifinals held next week at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“For me, selfishly, it’s absolutely awesome,” Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said. “I get a chance to home and spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and my mom. It doesn’t get any better than that. For our team and Virginia Tech, it’s a great accomplishment to be on a great stage in the world’s most famous arena.”

Tech will take on No. 5 Syracuse on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The Orangemen blew out Albany in another second-round game on Tuesday night. The tip-off time of the Tech-Syracuse tilt is yet to be determined.

“I’ve been to the Garden a couple of times [as a freshman and sophomore playing in the Aeropostale Holiday Festival],” Hudson said. “It’ll be a very good experience for the young guys. They’ll get to see what the Garden is all about.

“But at the same time, we need to go up there and try to get that win. I don’t know a lot about Syracuse, but I know we better be ready to play against 40 minutes of zone and knock down some shots.”

The Hokies led by as many as 13 in the first half against the Panthers (1-1), but saw FIU cut the lead to 39-34 on a basket by Dominique Ferguson with 14:28 remaining. Tech answered by going on a 16-7 run, scoring on seven straight possessions. Dorian Finney-Smith’s three-point play with 10:21 remaining ended the run, giving the Hokies a 55-41 cushion. Tech went on to lead by as many as 19, cruising to the victory.

Hudson hit 8 of 13 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. He connected on all 12 of his free-throw attempts, and he added five rebounds and two assists. His 31 points marked the most by him since his 41-point outburst against Seton Hall on Jan. 2, 2010, in Mexico.

“Our players did a good job of finding me in transition,” Hudson said. “I started feeling it a little bit, and Coach started calling plays for me. I thought that was a big key to my success.”

The Hokies shot 51.9 percent from the floor and hit 7 of 19 from beyond the 3-point arc. In contrast, FIU, overtime winners over George Mason on Monday night, shot just 35.1 percent from the floor.

Finney-Smith added 14 points for Tech, while also grabbing a team-high 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Erick Green finished with 12 points, while Victor Davila had 11.

Jeremy Allen led the Panthers with 15 points.

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

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