Virginia Tech made 10 of its first 11 shots to take a 14-point lead seven minutes into its first-round NIT game with Bethune-Cookman Wednesday and never looked back. The Hokies, led by 19 points by Jeff Allen, easily disposed of the regular-season MEAC champions and will advance to the second round where they will meet Wichita State at 11 a.m. EDT Sunday at Cassell Coliseum.
All nine of Tech's healthy players got into Wednesday's game and five of them scored in double-figures. The only starter held under 10 points was Victor Davila, who was limited to 13 minutes thanks to a banged-up shoulder. The Hokies hope the injury is nothing serious. They'll need the big man against a Wichita State team that is among the best rebounding teams in the country and have four players 6-8 or taller who play significant minutes.
(UPDATE: Jimmy Robertson reports Davila may have a torn labrum and is questionable for Sunday)
Wednesday's game saw the Hokies play tough zone defense against the Wildcats, especially in the first half. BCU settled for low-percentage shots early as 11 of their 23 field goal attempts in the first half were threes. Meanwhile the Hokies were getting better looks at the basket with 40 of their points coming in the paint compared to BCU's 20.
Not surprisingly, that mean Tech was doing a good job sharing the ball. It finished with 21 assists on 33 made field goals, including a career-high eight assists by Erick Green. Green was also 5-for-7 from the floor (both misses were threes) for 11 points.
Tech will now get a much tougher test in their second-round game against WSU. The Shockers took care of Nebraska Wednesday, 76-49. They held the Huskers to 34 percent shooting and had seven players score at least seven points.
WSU's height and depth might give the Hokies problems. Wichita State rebounds well, giving up the third-lowest percentage of offensive boards. However, Tech's guards match-up favorably against the Shockers. The Hokies will need good games from Green and Malcolm Delaney, especially if Davila will be hampered by the injury.
Beat Wichita State and Virginia Tech would play in its third NIT quarterfinal in four years against either College of Charleston or Cleveland State.
Next on Virginia Tech's basketball schedule: 11 a.m. EDT Sunday vs. Wichita State.