Virginia Tech holds off VMI

Kyle Bailey, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The Virginia Tech Hokies used a balanced effort and held off a late push by the Virginia Military Institute to earn a 105-92 win Monday in a non-conference game at Cassell Coliseum.
Five Hokies scored in double figures, led by senior forward Jarell Eddie, who had an efficient 21-point performance.
Virginia Tech (3-1) shot 64.7 percent from long range, knocking down 11 of 17 3-point attempts. Eddie was perfect on five attempts from 3-point range and finished 7-for-12 from the field. He also pulled down seven rebounds.
"It's always good to see that ball go through the basket on one of your first attempts," Eddie said. "You know, when that happens the basket gets bigger for you. I was just able to shoot well from there on out."
VMI's head coach, Duggar Baucom, didn't expect Virginia Tech to do most of its damage from beyond the 3-point line.
"A lot of guys don't shoot 11-for-17 in a gym by themselves," Baucom said. "They really, really shot it good. Going into the game they were shooting what -- 38 percent? So they almost doubled that."
Virginia Tech's youngsters continued to shine, as freshman guards Ben Emelogu and Devin Wilson combined for 32 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Emelogu scored 19 points.
Nine of the 10 Virginia Tech players who saw action scored at least five points or pulled down at least four rebounds.
Despite trailing by 20 points with 10:56 remaining, VMI (3-2) refused to go away. After a handful of Tech turnovers and a furious rally, Keydets guard QJ Peterson sank two free throws to pull VMI within 98-92 with 1:18 remaining. The run ended there, though, as Tech answered with seven consecutive points to end the game.
James Johnson didn't particularly like the way his Hokies played down the stretch.
"We got caught up in that a little bit," Johnson said. "We got to running up and down and feeding into their style of ball. We want to play fast but not like that."
Peterson scored 22 points and grabbed five boards. Three other Keydets reached double figures. Guard Rodney Glasgow scored 22 points, and forward D.J. Covington added 20 points and five rebounds.
"I think, for the most part, we did a pretty good job holding our own and fighting back," Covington said. "It's hard to beat somebody when they're shooting about 50 percent from the 3-point line."
Virginia Tech started quickly, playing at a pace that traditionally would favor the Keydets' run-and-gun approach. The Hokies rattled off 12 quick points in the first 3:56 of the game. VMI responded with a 12-4 run to take an 18-16 lead with 9:41 left in the first half.
From there, the Hokies took over offensively, going on a 28-15 run to establish a 44-33 halftime lead.
VMI struggled early with Virginia Tech's length in the post. Tech won the rebounding battle 52-21 and blocked nine shots, five by Trevor Thompson, a 6-foot-11 freshman center.
Covington led the Keydets with 10 first-half points and five rebounds.
Peterson added seven points and four boards while only shooting 25 percent from the field in the first half.
The Keydets, who knocked down 17 3-pointers against Bluefield State on Saturday, attempted 36 3-pointers in the game but made just 10 of them.
Eddie, who had 12 first-half points, reached double digits in each of the Hokies' first four games this season.
Virginia Tech received a significant early contribution from its reserves, getting 18 first-half points off the bench to VMI's five. Emelogu scored seven points before the break.
NOTES: Virginia Tech and VMI are two of the nation's six "Senior Military Colleges." The two programs played for the 131st time, with the Hokies improving their advantage to 88-43. ... Virginia Tech F C.J. Barksdale returned to the lineup, scoring 16 points. He served a three-game suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules. ... Virginia Tech will play in the "Coaches vs. Cancer Classic" at the Barclays Center in New York starting Friday. Tech's first opponent will be No. 1 Michigan State. ... VMI plays host to Bridgewater on Wednesday.

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