LeDay, Hokies pull away from Syracuse

Syracuse (10-7, 2-2) 314273
Virginia Tech (13-3, 2-2) 374683
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 6,047
  • High Points: 22 - Zach LeDay
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Justin Bibbs, Chris Clarke

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s Zach LeDay scored 22 points to lead five players in double figures, as the Hokies led for the entire second half en route to an 83-73 victory over Syracuse at Virginia Tech Carilion Court on Tuesday night.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Hokies, who moved to 13-3 overall, 2-2 in the ACC. Tech also snapped an eight-game losing streak to Syracuse (10-7, 2-2), which saw its two-game winning streak come to an end.

LeDay told his team after Saturday’s Florida State loss that it couldn’t let a loss affect the next game. He then set the tone early against the Orange, scoring six of the Hokies’ first 10 points, including four on dunks. He connected on 9 of 13 from the floor, including a 3-pointer, as the Hokies extended their home winning streak to 15 games.

“I had to step it up, but more so defensively,” LeDay said. “That’s what we were focused on. We were scoring 80 points on the road, but we were giving up 100. Once we cut that down, that helped, and being at home helped, too.”

“Any coach will tell you this, if it’s an exclusively coach-led team, there is a level to your success,” Williams said. “But when it becomes a player-led team – because the players know what is right and what is wrong – that changes the level. I thought some of that came to light over past two and a half days, and Zach was a part of that.”

Tech, which fell out of the Associated Press’ top-25 poll following losses to NC State and the Seminoles last week, led just 51-48 after Syracuse’s Tyus Battle hit a 3-pointer with 10:39 left in the game, but the Hokies went on an 8-0 run and weren’t threatened again. They led the entire second half, with LeDay scoring 13 in the final 20 minutes.

Justin Bibbs finished with 18 points for the Hokies, who saw five players score in double figures and shot 49.1 percent (28 of 57). More impressively, the Hokies turned the ball over a season-low six times after turning it over 36 times combined in the previous two games.

“Obviously, we’ve been focused on it,” Williams said of the turnovers. “I thought we were much more connected. Obviously, we executed the scheme of what we wanted to do. That’s why we won. I think we’re a good offensive team. There are ways that I think we can be better, but when our turnover rate is low, good things are going to happen.”

Chris Clarke added 17 points and six assists. The Hokies also saw the return of Seth Allen, who suffered a head injury against NC State and did not play against Florida State. He scored 11 points and had five assists.

“I thought he and Zach both played like redshirt seniors, and that’s what we need from them,” Williams said.

Tech plays the second of three straight home games on Saturday when it takes on Notre Dame. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter

HokieSports Shop