BLACKBURG, Va. – A career day from freshman Devin Wilson and a big response from senior Jarell Eddie helped lift the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team past the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, 82-66, in Cassell Coliseum Tuesday evening. Wilson scored 16 points for Tech, while Eddie was anything but flat against the Hawks, adding 17 points and nine rebounds.
Eddie rebounded from his performance against UNCG early, scoring Tech’s first points of the game and although both teams scored right away, things got out to a slow start in the opening minutes. Following the first media timeout junior C.J. Barksdale went on a 5-0 run of his own to help spark the Hokies. Tech turned it into a 12-2 streak to go ahead 19-8 with just under 12 minutes left in the first half.
The Hokies never let UMES get closer than 10 points and eventually took a 46-23 lead into the break. The 23-point halftime difference was the largest in Tech’s favor this season and the biggest halftime lead since holding a 50-11 advantage over Mt. St. Mary’s in 2011.
Tech continued to cruise in the second half, leading by as many as 26 points at times. The Hokies finished the game outrebounding UMES 42-26. Freshman Ben Emelogu saw increased action at the point and finished the game with a career-high nine assists.
“It was nice getting back on the winning track tonight,” Virginia Tech head coach James Johnson said. “I was happy with the way we came out and were ready to play. It was big for us to come out of the gate the way we did. I think the shot that (Jarell) Eddie made, with the shot fake and one dribble helped the team see a big basket. And we were able to get stops early in the game”
The Tech bench outscored the Hawks’ reserves 22-2 in the first half, and 37-13 in the game much in part to the efforts of Barksdale, freshman Trevor Thompson and junior Will Johnston. Barksdale, who has seen limited action as of late due to knee and ankle injuries, finished the game with nine points, as did Johnston, while Thompson added eight points. The trio also combined for 15 rebounds.
“The number of guys that contributed in all the statistical categories was big,” Johnson said. “Ben Emelogu had nine assists, everybody scored and everybody except for one player had a rebound. That was big because we are going to need everybody to help us at some point this year. I like the fact that it was a great team win and everybody contributed.”
Tech will remain at home, but will not return to action until hosting nationally-ranked Syracuse on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m.
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