November 30, 2014
Smith's 3-pointers lift Hokies over Morgan State
By Jimmy Robertson
Morgan State (1-6) 273663
Virginia Tech (4-2) 424183
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 3,996
  • High Points: 22 - Adam Smith
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Joey van Zegeren

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech guard Adam Smith scored a game-high 22 points off the bench, as the Hokies’ pulled away from Morgan State to record an 83-63 non-conference win at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday.

The win marked the second straight for the Hokies, who moved to 4-2 overall on the season. Tech is now 8-0 all time against Morgan State and 27-0 all time against teams from the MEAC.

Smith, who led four Virginia Tech players in double figures, hit 7 of 11 from the floor, including a career-high six 3-pointers, as the Hokies sank 12-of-17 from long range in the game, and shot 56 percent overall (28-of-50).

The redshirt junior from Jonesboro, Georgia, came off the bench for the third straight game after starting the first three games this season. He finished just a 3-pointer short of the single-game record for 3-pointers at Tech, and he’s hit 11 in the past two games.

“I think it’s an advantage seeing the game from the outside first, watching them and checking out the pace and watching out the refs call the game,” Smith said. “So I use it to my advantage.

“Whether I start or not, I’ve still got to produce. It’s the same game. Everybody’s got to contribute in some way or some form. I really don’t think about it [starting] too much.”

Morgan State (1-6), despite hitting just two of its first 17 shots, grabbed a 7-4 lead after a jumper by Blake Bozeman with 15:48 left in the first half. But the Hokies responded with a 10-1 run to take the lead, with four different players scoring and Will Johnston capping the run with a three-point play to give Tech a lead it never would relinquish.

The Hokies hit 3-pointers on their final four possessions of the first half and led 42-27 at halftime. Smith hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions, and then Devin Wilson closed the half by banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hokies the 15-point edge.

Smith scored 13 of his 22 in the second half, as Virginia Tech would go on to lead by as many as 24 points.

Joey van Zegeren, who also came off the bench for the third straight game after starting the first three games, added 13 points for the Hokies, while Ahmed Hill had 12. Wilson had 10 points and 11 assists. He came just one assist short of tying the school record for assists in a game.

Wilson’s 11 assists were part of a 19-assist day for the Hokies. But Tech turned the ball over 17 times and gave up 19 offensive rebounds.

“Our turnover percentage is still way too high,” Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “Over 25 percent of the time when we have the ball, we give it to the other team. That’s extraordinarily high. But the 75 percent when we don’t turn it over to the other team, we’re shooting 50 percent – which is bordering on extremely high.

“You can’t have 17 turnovers and give up 19 offensive rebounds and think you’re going to win by 20. Some of those numbers are completely skewed. We’ve got to drop all those numbers.”

Morgan State shot just 31.6 percent (24-of-76). Bozeman, the son of Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman, scored 21 points to lead the Bears.

Tech travels to Penn State on Tuesday for a Wednesday night game against the Nittany Lions as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff is slated for 7:15 p.m.

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