Hokies pull away in second half to knock off Charleston Southern

Charleston Southern (4-7) 273259
Virginia Tech (10-1) 394887
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 5,249
  • High Points: 20 - Ahmed Hill
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Chris Clarke

BLACKSBURG – Ahmed Hill scored 20 points to pace five players in double figures, as the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team pulled away to knock off Charleston Southern 87-59 in a non-conference game at Virginia Tech Carilion Court on Tuesday night.

Hill, who has scored at least 20 in three straight games, hit 5 of 12 from the floor and all eight of his free-throw attempts for Virginia Tech (10-1), which won its sixth straight game and its 12th straight home game since last season. The Hokies are off to their best start since the 2009-10 season when they won 12 of their first 13 games.

“Just the chemistry,” Hill said when asked how the team has won six in a row. “We’re doing what Buzz [Williams] wants to do, and the coaching staff. The scouting reports are to a ‘T.’ We know everything about everybody. I just think that our chemistry is a big part of it. Everyone is working hard.”

The Hokies won despite having one of their poorest shooting games, hitting just 41.7 percent (25 of 60) - their second-lowest percentage of the season. They also shot a season-worst 26.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (6 of 23). But their versatile lineup made up for it at the free-throw line, where they set season highs in makes (31) and attempts (37).

The two teams traded the lead for much of the first half, but the Hokies closed the half with a 15-2 run to take a 39-27 lead, and they never trailed again. Five different players scored in the run, including Hill, who scored four.

Hill then helped Virginia Tech put the game away in the second half, scoring 13 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Chris Clarke added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Virginia Tech, and Zach LeDay scored 14.

“I think it speaks to their growth,” Williams said of winning when not playing well. “I think our team identifies when we’re not being us relatively quick. What I’ve got to figure out is when they know we’re not being us, they’re literally saying the same things I say, but I’ve got to help them get back to us quicker because we’re not going to be able to absorb, including the game on the 28th [against UMBC] – they’re very, very good – these stretches. The last two games, how we’ve started, have been abysmal.”

Christian Keeling led Charleston Southern (4-7) with 24 points. The Buccaneers shot a season-worst 33.3 percent (22 of 66).

Tech now takes eight days off before returning to action against UMBC at home on Dec. 28. The game will conclude the Hokies' non-conference slate. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

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