Quick start propels Tech past Morehead State

Morehead State (1-4) 234063
Virginia Tech (5-1) 514596
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 5,390
  • High Points: 18 - N. Alexander-Walker
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Kerry Blackshear Jr.
2017-18 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball Ticket Information
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BLACKSBURG – Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 18 points to pace Virginia Tech in a 96-63 non-conference victory over Morehead State at Carilion Clinic Court on Saturday.

With the win, the Hokies moved to 5-1 on the season. Morehead State fell to 1-4.

Alexander-Walker hit 7 of 9 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, for the Hokies, who shot better than 55 percent from the floor for the fifth time this season. The Hokies, who hit seven of their first 10 shots and never trailed against Morehead State, finished at 57.4 percent (31 of 54).

Justin Bibbs added 15 points for the Hokies, who also got strong performances from Kerry Blackshear Jr. (13 points and nine rebounds) and Ahmed Hill (12 points).

“I thought today was a good step in that direction,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said when asked if the team was gelling. “I did not think against Houston Baptist that it was a good step in some ways. It’s an ongoing thing, and I’m trying to get better at it. I thought I had a better rep today than I had against Houston Baptist, and we’ve still got to figure out who are the guys that can help us get stops at the end. Who can get stops when we have to have stops? That’s what we have to continue to try and figure out.”

Breaking from their recent trend of slow starts, the Hokies used a 14-0 run early in the first half to break open the game, with Blackshear Jr. scoring six of those points. Virginia Tech also got it done on defense, holding the Eagles scoreless on 10 consecutive possessions during that stretch. The Hokies led by as many as 28 in the first half, shooting 65.4 percent from the floor (17 of 26).

“I think it’s [the start] important discipline-wise and maturity-wise,” Alexander-Walker said. “It shows growth. We didn’t just take it as any other game. We tried to improve, which matters a lot. Coach is really big on harping on never wasting a rep. We took every rep serious and every possession serious, and I feel like it helped us for later on in the season.”

The Eagles shot just 35.7 percent (10 of 28), committed nine turnovers and trailed 51-23 at halftime. For the game, they were plagued by 20 turnovers, which led to 25 Virginia Tech points.

Djimon Henson led Morehead State with 17 points.


• Tech entered the game as the highest-scoring team in the Atlantic Coast Conference, averaging 103.2 points per game and did little to hurt that by scoring 96. They now have scored at least 95 points in five of their six games.

• Tech hit 10 3-pointers against Morehead State and has hit at least 10 3-pointers in four of six games this season. The Hokies have hit at least six 3-pointers in 16 consecutive games dating back to last season.

• The Hokies connected on 24 of 27 free-throw attempts for a percentage of 88.9 – the best of the season. In the past two games, they have hit 43 of 50 from the free-throw line (86 percent).

• Bibbs has scored at least 15 points in all four of the games in which he has played this season.

• Hill’s 12 points marked a season low, but he also played a season low in minutes (24). He has hit at least two 3-pointers in five straight games and 22 of his 42 baskets this season are 3’s.

Chris Clarke dished out five assists in the game and has now dished out at least three assists in every game this season. He ranks second on the team with 25 assists – Justin Robinson leads the team with 30.

Wabissa Bede played a season-best 18 minutes against Morehead State.


The Hokies return to action Tuesday night with a home game against Iowa as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The game tips at 9 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.

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