Virginia Tech returns to the hardwood Wednesday with a home game against in state foe Liberty at 7 p.m.
The game marks the first meeting between the programs since the 2007-08 season. Tech holds a 13-3 all-time lead in the series.
The Hokies (1-0, 0-0) are coming off a 71-46 opening win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Redshirt freshman Malik Müller and true freshman Justin Bibbs led the Hokies in scoring with 15 points each. Junior college transfer Shane Henry paced Tech with eight rebounds.
Good evening. You're lookin' live at virginia tech men's basketball. pic.twitter.com/37tQrT2cqc— Mark Umansky (@markumansky) November 14, 2014
Liberty is a larger team that will challenge the Hokies physically in the frontcourt. That's a concern when both junior Joey van Zegeren and freshman Satchel Pierce—Tech's only true big men—both fouled out of the opener.
The Flames' (2-0, 0-0) attack starts up front with senior forward Tomasz Gielo. The 6'9", 220-pound Poland native has put up 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds through two games against Randolph College and Delaware.
Randolph is a Division III opponent, so it's tough to gather much from that effort but Gielo actually played much better against Delaware putting up 23 points and 10 rebounds in a 61-55 win that marked the program's 600th victory all-time.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/0LU7xK3-GIE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
6'7" junior transfer David Andoh is right behind Gielo with 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds so far. Another transfer is 6'10", 245-pound senior James Johnson (8.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG). The gameplan for Liberty is without question to pound the ball down low early in an effort to get the thin Tech frontcourt in foul trouble.
On the Hokies' side, it will be interesting to see if the balanced scoring from the opener will continue. Tech had three players in double figures and everyone else who played scored except for Christian Beyer who only saw brief court time at the end.
An interesting note on the coaches is that Liberty head man Dale Layer once had Buzz Williams on his staff at Colorado State and Williams later had Layer on his staff at Marquette. The two know each other very well and Buzz said on Tech Talk Live Monday night that he would have rather not played the game but that would have removed Tech from the Cancun Challenge that this match up is a part of.
We'll learn a lot about Tech in this one against a more physically and mentally mature club.