Coming off a grueling coast-to-coast flight after losing Wednesday night at No. 18 Oregon was not a prescription for success Friday night for Western Carolina, especially against a deep Virginia Tech squad.
With the Hokies flashing their newfound depth and wearing out the Catamounts with their fast-break, Virginia Tech rolled to a 79-61 victory at Cassell Coliseum behind senior forward Jarell Eddy, who scored 17 points, and freshman forward Trevor Thompson, who added 15 points and 11 rebounds.
After trailing by 23 points early in the second half, Western Carolina made it interesting with a 12-2 run, with six of the points coming from senior guard Brandon Boggs. After the Hokies failed to score in a 6:47 span of the second half and saw its lead shrink from 23 to 10 points, Eddy drained a jumper with 6:45 left and freshman guard Ben Emelogu (16 points) added a 3-pointer on the following possession as Virginia Tech resumed control.
The Hokies (2-1) pulled away early as the Catamounts (2-2) missed their first 11 shots from the floor. When forward Justin Browning made a layup 9 minutes and 29 seconds into the game, the Catamounts had their first field goal and were down 13-5. Browning's score did little to blunt the momentum of the Hokies as it came during a stretch of three dunks on four Hokies' possessions by Thompson.
Later in the half, Tech reeled off 10 straight points to take a 35-13 lead. The highlight of the stretch was provided by senior forward Cadarian Raines, who scored on a transition dunk, then hustled for the rebound of his missed free throw and passed to Eddy for a layup.
Junior guard James Sinclair scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half to lead Western Carolina. The Virginia Tech backcourt, however, limited top scorer Trey Sumler to 11 points before the senior guard fouled out. Sumler had 29 points in Wednesday's 107-83 loss at Oregon.