It was reasonable to believe Virginia Tech would come out at less than top speed playing just two days after a big conference road win. That's exactly what the Hokies did Saturday against a Longwood team that came into Cassell Coliseum with a 7-14 record.
The Hokies made just four of their first 14 shots and trailed Longwood 15-10 midway through the first half. However, they surged ahead with a 19-4 run to finish the half and proceeded to shoot 61.5 percent (16-for-26) in the second half to cruise to an 18-point win over the lowly Lancers.
They did it by not forcing low percentage shots like they did in the first half. Tech was 2-for-12 from behind the arc in the first half as they looked rushed on offense. The Hokies had a big height advantage over Longwood, but didn't take advantage of it. Finally, they started driving, feeding the post and forcing turnovers for transition points after a lackadaisical start.
Leading the way was Malcolm Delaney, who finished with 23 points. He did it the way we're used to seeing Delaney rack up points, by driving, getting fouled and getting the to the line. He was 5-for-9 on two-point shots and 1-for-5 from three against Longwood, but made 10 of 12 free throws.
The other Hokie in double figures was the red hot Erick Green who again looked good in transition and finished with 14 points to go along with five assists and just one turnover. Green has now scored in double figures in his last 10 games and the Hokies are 9-1 in those games.
Tech is now done with non-conference play and will return to its ACC schedule. With three of their next four conference games coming on the road, this will be a critical stretch for the Hokies' NCAA Tournament hopes. All four games are winnable, but all four promise to be hard-fought games.
Up next on Virginia Tech's basketball schedule: 9 p.m. EST Tuesday at Georgia Tech