Tech gets defensive in Big Ten-ACC Challenge blowout of Iowa

Iowa (4-3) 381755
Virginia Tech (6-1) 384179
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 7,101
  • High Points: 18 - Ahmed Hill
  • High Rebounds: 10 - Kerry Blackshear Jr.
2017-18 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball Ticket Information
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BLACKSBURG – Ahmed Hill scored 18 points and Virginia Tech played its best defense of the season to carry the Hokies to a 79-55 victory over Iowa in a Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup on Tuesday night at Carilion Clinic Court.

The win marked the fourth straight for the Hokies, who moved to 6-1 overall on the season. Tech improved to 4-0 all time against Iowa and won its fifth game while competing as a part of the Challenge. Iowa fell to 4-3.

Hill hit 6 of 13 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, for Tech, which blew open a tied game at halftime with a big run early in the second half. P.J. Horne added a career-best 16 points for the Hokies, and Justin Bibbs had 14.

The Hokies broke open the game with a 20-1 run early in the second half, with Bibbs scoring nine of Virginia Tech's points in the run. The Hokies scored on 11 of 15 possessions, taking a tied game and expanding their lead to 60-41 during a span of a little more than eight minutes.

Perhaps more impressive was the Hokies’ defense. Iowa made its first basket of the second half — a jumper by Tyler Cook with 19:11 remaining — but then missed 17 consecutive shots. During that eight-minute span, the Hawkeyes scored just a point, which came on a free throw by Cook with 12:52 remaining.

After shooting 51.7 percent in the first half (15 of 29), Iowa made just seven field goals in the final 20 minutes. The Hawkeyes' 33.3 percent shooting (22 of 66) was their worst of the season. In addition, the Hokies held their own against the bigger Hawkeyes on the boards, grabbing 28 second-half rebounds.

“I thought the difference in the second half was our defensive rebounding – only giving them one shot,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I thought we started really, really good. I think we played the first 15 minutes without them getting an offensive rebound, and I thought that was key.”

“We thought we had this in us,” Hill said. “We knew the scouting report very well from the coaches. We knew what we had to do to get stops, so we just had to execute it.”

The Hokies, who shot 43.1 percent, took advantage of a huge free-throw disparity, making 22 of 28 from the line. Chris Clarke added 12 points for Tech, and Kerry Blackshear Jr. had a team-best 10 rebounds.

Cook paced the Hawkeyes with 16 points.


• Iowa’s 33.3 percent shooting was the worst by a Tech opponent this season.

• The Hokies have made at least 19 free throws in every game this season and attempted at least 23 free throws in every game.

• The Hokies have made at least five 3-pointers in 17 straight games dating back to last season.

• Led by Horne, the Hokies scored 31 points off the bench – their second-best bench performance of the season (33 vs. The Citadel). Tech has gotten at least 19 points from its bench in every game this season, and the bench averages 27.3 points per game.

• Horne came into the game averaging 5.3 points and 2.2 rebounds, but the freshman scored a career-best 16 against the Hawkeyes and hit 6 of 7 from the floor in a career-best 21 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in two games this season.

• Hill has now hit at least three 3-pointers in five of the Hokies’ seven games and in 19 of his 73 career games. He is shooting 54.3 percent from behind the 3-point arc and has more 3-pointers than two-pointers (25-23).

• Bibbs has scored in double figures in five straight games.


The Hokies play their first true road game of this season on Saturday when they travel to Ole Miss. The game tips off at 2 p.m.

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