December 5, 2015
Hudson paces Hokies to big win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The Tech guard led five Hokies in double figures with 15 points
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-7) 162945
Virginia Tech (5-3) 374380
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 4,931
  • High Points: 15 - Jalen Hudson
  • High Rebounds: 10 - Zach LeDay

BLACKSBURG – Jalen Hudson scored 15 points to lead five Virginia Tech players in double figures as the Hokies rolled to an 80-45 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Virginia Tech Carilion Court on Saturday.

The win moved Tech to 5-3 overall on the season. The 35-point margin of victory for the Hokies is their largest since they defeated Monmouth 91-46 on Nov. 14, 2011 at home.

“We have millions of miles to go to get where we can have a chance to beat a team of equal or better talent, so the opponent today really wasn’t Pine Bluff – it was ourselves,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “We’ve lost a game already at home to a team of lesser talent [Alabama State], and we have lost to a team at home of equal or better talent [Northwestern]. We’ve done the same on the road.

“You have to utilize not just game day, but shoot-around on game day and film on game day and practices to grow up. We’ve got a lot of growing up to do, and I thought there was some of that displayed today.”

Tech’s edge at the free-throw line helped on a day when it shot just 40.4 percent (21 of 52) from the floor. The Hokies have shot at least 30 free throws in five of their eight games this season.

Hudson hit 3 of 4 from the floor, including two 3-pointers, and 7 of 11 from the line for the Hokies, who had five players in double figures for the second time this season. He started for the second time this season and the first time since the season opener against Alabama State.

“He’s the most talented player on our team<” Williams said. “The thing that Jalen has had to figure out is how hard your motor has to run for your talent to be revealed. He’s the kid you want your daughter to marry. He’s the kid you want to bring home for Thanksgiving, but he hasn’t always been the kid you want fighting for you in a game.

“But he’s realizing you can do both. He’s smart and conscientious about everything, and he’s starting to figure out all of the things we’re asking of him. I’m proud that he’s forcing himself to do what we’re asking him to do. As a coach or as a teacher, you get excited about growth in your students.”

Chris Clarke added 14 points for the Hokies, while Justin Bibbs and Zach LeDay chipped in 13 and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Seth Allen had 11.

Tech opened the game with a 23-2 run. Arkansas-Pine Bluff's Ghiavonni Robinson scored on a layup with 17:43 left in the first half, but the Golden Lions then went nearly eight minutes without scoring, and the Hokies reeled off 18 straight points. UAPB went more than nine minutes without hitting a field goal from the floor.

Ten of the Hokies’ 18 points in that stretch came at the free-throw line.

“We have a lot of good drivers, a lot of athletic finishers, and they get fouled a lot when they go to the basket,” said LeDay, who hit 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. “We’ve got good a lot of people who can shoot free throws. I think that could be something we could hang our hat on. I think that’s some thing we’re starting to get an identity for is getting to the line a lot.”

“I don’t think we’re very good offensively,” Williams said. “I think we’ll improve. I don’t know that we’ll necessarily be good, but we can overcome some of our deficiencies by getting fouled and getting second opportunities.”

Neither team shot very well from the floor in the first half. The Hokies shot just 26.1 percent (6 of 23), while Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 11.5 percent (3 of 26). But Tech took advantage at the free-throw line to lead by as many as 25, hitting 22 of 30 and grabbing a 37-16 lead. The two teams combined for 32 fouls and 45 free throws in the first 30 minutes. Overall, Arkansas-Pine Bluff made 11 of 17 from the free-throw line.

Jaquan Lynch led the Golden Lions (2-7) with 10 points. UAPB shot just 28.8 percent from the floor (15 of 52) and committed 21 turnovers.

Tech plays at Radford on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.

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