December 22, 2014
Bibbs, Hokies roll past VMI
By Jimmy Robertson
VMI (5-7) 274774
Virginia Tech (7-4) 513687
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 5,326
  • High Points: 20 - Justin Bibbs
  • High Rebounds: 13 - Shane Henry

BLACKSBURG – Justin Bibbs scored a career-high 20 points to lead Virginia Tech to an 87-74 win over in-state counterpart VMI on Monday night at Cassell Coliseum.

The win marked the Hokies’ third straight and moved them to 7-4 on the season heading into the holiday break following a disappointing 68-66 loss to Big South foe Radford at home on Dec. 7.

“I’m really, really disappointed,” Tech coach Buzz Williams said of his team’s record. “We should have lost once. Virginia Tech spent more money on guarantee games than in the history of the program, partly because I’m new and partly because they’re tired of losing and partly because they want to generate revenue through season ticket holders. We’ve lost three games by one possession, two of those three at home [a reference to close losses to Appalachian State, Penn State and Radford].

“We’re three possessions away from being 10-1, and we spent a lot of money to go 10-1. Instead, we’re 7-4. I’m thankful that we’ve won three in a row, but being realistic, we should have. I wish we would have done better.”

Williams had little to complain about, though, following his team’s performance Monday night against VMI. Bibbs connected on 6 of 10 shots from the floor for the Hokies, who shot 53.2 percent (33 of 62) for the game.

Devin Wilson added 16 points for the Hokies and Jalen Hudson had 12 on a night in which Tech scored the most points it has all season and in which it led for the final 39 minutes of the game.

The Hokies led by as many as 26 in the second half, but VMI (5-7) cut the lead to 79-70 on a basket by QJ Peterson with 2:33 remaining. Tech got two free throws from Bibbs and two from Wilson to push the lead to 83-70, and the Keydets got no closer the rest of the way.

“We just remembered how we got our points and how we got stops,” Bibbs said. “We had to get to the rim, and we started getting fouled. We kept attacking, like we did in the first half. Once we beat their press, we couldn’t be lackadaisical with the ball. We had to keep attacking to get layups and get fouled.”

Bibbs connected on 8 of 10 free throws for the game and grabbed four rebounds in 34 minutes. The Hokies, who came into the game shooting 57.1 percent from the free-throw line, hit 70.8 percent (17 of 24) against the Keydets.

Tim Marshall led VMI with 18 points, while Peterson finished with 14. The Keydets shot just 32.9 percent (23 of 70) from the floor.

VMI scored the first basket of the game on a Marshall layup, but the Hokies went on an 18-2 run right after that and never trailed again. Five different players scored during the run, with Adam Smith’s six points leading the way.

Virginia Tech ended the first half with a 10-1 run and took a 51-27 lead at halftime on Wilson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Wilson had two 3-pointers in the run.

Wilson, back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench the previous two games, made 4 of 6 from the floor and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. He also dished out a game-high six assists.

Smith, Tech’s leading scorer coming into the game (12.5 ppg), had 10 points, as did Ahmed Hill.

The Hokies now will take a couple of days before beginning preparations for a game against Presbyterian on Saturday, Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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