November 14, 2015
Tech drops season opener to Alabama State
Zach LeDay scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his debut
Alabama State (1-0) 374885
Virginia Tech (0-1) 424082
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 6,519
  • High Points: 26 - Zach LeDay
  • High Rebounds: 15 - Zach LeDay

BLACKSBURG – Zach LeDay had a terrific debut for the Hokies, but Virginia Tech couldn’t get enough stops in the second half and fell to Alabama State 85-82 on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.

LeDay scored 26 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his first game as a Hokie. He spent two years at South Florida before transferring to Tech and sitting out last season. He made 10 of 16 from the floor and 6 of 9 from the free-throw line.

The Hokies led by 11 in the first half, by five at halftime and by six with a little more than 11 minutes remaining. But Alabama State grabbed a 67-66 lead on a basket by Bobby Brown with 7:18 to go. That started a 9-0 run by the Hornets, who took a 74-66 lead on a putback by Steve Rogers – their biggest lead of the game – and never trailed again.

The Hokies cut the lead to 78-74 on a 3-pointer by Seth Allen with 1:32 remaining. Alabama State then called a timeout with 1:10 left.

Out of the timeout, Waters hit a jumper and was fouled by Allen with a minute left. He made the free throw, giving the Hornets an 81-74 lead.

The Hokies (0-1) cut the lead to 85-82 on a jumper by Justin Bibbs with 17.1 seconds left. The Hornets’ Terrance LeFlore then missed two free throws with 9.8 seconds to go, but the Hokies’ Seth Allen missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds that would have tied the game.

“There were eight seconds left, and we ran a play that we run all the time,” Allen said. “J-Rob [Justin Robinson] pitched it up, and I let it go. It looked good. It just went a little long.”

Jamel Waters scored 21 points to lead Alabama State, hitting 6 of 16 from the floor, including four 3-pointers, as the Hornets shot 54.2 percent (13 of 24) and had 11 offensive rebounds in the second half en route to the upset. Brown added 14 points, while Torlorf Thomas had 13.

“If you score 82 points and shoot 40 free throws, you probably should win,” Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. “I think we have a feel for what we’re going to be about offensively, but I don’t think we have an identity for what we’re going to be about defensively.”

LeDay was one of six players making their debuts for the Hokies, and Tech was without point guard Devin Wilson, who sat out with a minor groin injury. Still, the Hokies scored 82 points and shot 47.4 percent from the floor.

But it was what transpired on the other end of the floor that concerned Williams.

“I try to have the same mannerisms and tone after a loss that I do after a win,” Williams said. “I think when you get beat, you should just say that you got beat. I don’t think there is anyway to sugarcoat it that we have a bunch of new guys or not. Those new guys were fine on one end of the floor. I think we should give credit to Alabama State and not say, ‘Well, we’re new,’ or anything else.”

The game was part of the Emerald Coast Classic.

Tech plays Jacksonville State at home on Wednesday. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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