Hokies defeat Detroit Mercy, 111-79, in season opener

Detroit Mercy (0-1) 423779
Virginia Tech (1-0) 5259111
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,275
  • High Points: 24 - N. Alexander-Walker
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Ahmed Hill

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech rolled to a 111-79 victory over Detroit Mercy in men’s basketball action Friday night at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum. The game, part of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, was the season opener for both teams.

The Hokies jumped out to an early lead, before the Titans fought back to take a 24-23 lead with 10:15 remaining in the first half on a three-pointer by Jack Ballantyne. Tech then ran off the next eight points and did not trail again. The Hokies led 52-42 at the intermission.

Tech went on a 17-6 run to open the second half. Tech’s balanced offensive attack saw five players in double figures and when Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining, the Hokies claimed their largest lead and the 111-79 final score.

Alexander-Walker made his collegiate debut and led the Hokies with 24 points. Kerry Blackshear Jr., making his return after missing the 2016-17 season with a leg injury, scored a career-high 23 points Ahmed Hill added 19 points and tied his career-high with nine rebounds, while Devin Wilson and freshman P.J. Horne posted 10 points each.

Seven players who did not play for the Hokies last season appeared in the contest. Tyrie Jackson, who redshirt last season had nine points and eight rebounds, while Chris Clark, who missed the final nine games of last season with a torn ACL, made his return, with nine points, five rebounds and four assists in 18 minutes of action.

Kameron Chatman led three Titan scorers in double figures with 23 points. Jermaine Jackson Jr., added 16 points in the loss.

Tech won the battle of the boards, 48-32, including a 16-12 advantage on the offensive glass. Tech held the Titans to 37.1 percent from the floor, while shooting 56.8 percent from the field. The Hokies forced Detroit Mercy in 14 turnovers.

The Hokies assisted on half of their 42 made field goals and scored an impressive 70 points in the paint and 27 points on fast breaks.

The 111 points for Tech is the most since a 113-71 win over the Citadel last December. It’s the first time the Hokies opened a regular season with a 100-point performance since a 101-73 win at Hawaii-Hilo in the 1996 season and the first time Tech has scored 100 points in a home opener since a 101-65 win over Wofford in 1985.

The Hokies return to the court on Sunday night, as they host The Citadel. Game time is 7 p.m. The Citadel game is sold out, as was tonight’s season opener.

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