BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young offered a simple explanation for his team’s record-setting performance Wednesday.
“All coaching,” he said, jokingly. “All coaching."
Nahiem Alleyne scored 20 points and the Hokies hit a school-record 21 3-pointers en route to an easy 100-64 victory over Delaware State on Wednesday.
Alleyne hit 7 of 11 from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and Jalen Cone added 17 points to help the Hokies (5-0) extend their home nonconference winning streak to 28 consecutive games. The freshmen guards led a balanced Virginia Tech attack in which nine players scored – and seven of them hit at least one 3-pointer.
“This offense is built on making 3s, but also they want us to drive more and get to the paint and get to the foul line more,” Alleyne said. “But if we’re open, we’re going to take it.”
John Crosby led Delaware State (0-5) with 19 points.
The Hornets jumped out to a 7-0 lead, hitting three of their first five shots from the floor. But the Hokies found their shooting stroke and scored the next 11 points, never trailing again. The Hokies hit eight 3-pointers in the first half in grabbing a 45-27 halftime lead, and then they blew the game wide open in the second half, hitting 13 3s and scoring 55 points.
“We have a number of kids that can shoot the ball,” Young said. “I empower them. When the leather hits your hands, let ’er rip. If you’re open and in rhythm, and it’s a practice shot … we have a number of kids that shoot the ball well. I didn’t think we took a bad shot. I thought they were rhythm shots and good shots.”
Virginia Tech also set an ACC record with its 21 3-pointers. The Hokies hit 21 of their 37 3-point attempts, with Alleyne, Cone and Isaiah Wilkins hitting five each. Virginia Tech shot a season-best 56.5% (35 of 62) from the floor.
“They shot the cover off the ball,” Delaware State head coach Eric Skeeters said. “You think you did a good job of guard and rotate and switch and getting out to them, and then ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ … They played like an ACC team to their credit.”
Delaware State: The Hornets could have one of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's better players in Crosby, who transferred from Dayton and sat out last season. The senior, who has scored in double figures in every game, wasn't intimidated at playing against an ACC opponent and showed an ability to create his own shot. If he continues to play well, he could lead the Hornets to a better finish than many expect. They were picked to finish 10th in the 11-team MEAC.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies finally were able to get Wilkins going after a slow start to the season. Wilkins, one of their more experienced players, was shooting just 34.8% (24 of 69) and had made just two 3-pointers coming into the game, but he scored 15 points in what marked his best outing of the season by far.
HOKIES READY FOR STEP UP
Virginia Tech hasn’t played a Power 5 school since its season-opening win over Clemson, and two of its past four games have been against teams picked in the bottom half of the MEAC (Delaware State and Coppin State). But the young Hokies – with just one senior on the roster – take a serious step up on the competition ladder when they face No. 3 Michigan State on Monday in the first round of the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.
“We go out there with a good basketball team,” Young said. “We’re going to improve. It’ll be a far different scout, a far different prep than what we’re accustomed to. They’re unlike anything that we’ve played to this point, but the time has come. The time has come to play somebody really, really good. It will test everything we have done with them through this point in the season, and I look forward to seeing them compete again.”
Delaware State: The Hornets play at East Tennessee State on Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play No. 3 Michigan State in Hawaii as part of the Maui Invitational on Monday.
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