The Radford Highlanders made the short drive up I-81 to visit Cassell Coliseum, looking to improve upon their 4-3 mark this season. Unfortunately, they ran into a hot Hokies team, who now are 4-0 against Radford since I’ve been in Blacksburg. It was a relatively easy win, as the Hokies took a 6-4 lead early and never looked back en route to a 95-68 win.
Per Buzz Williams, last week was very important to Virginia Tech’s season. They responded by going 2-0, including a convincing blowout at home over Iowa and a tough, hard-earned win at Ole Miss. Radford was a less intimidating foe than either of last week’s opponents, and the Hokies dominated them. The game was in Tech’s control the whole way, as the home side held shot 64% from the field, including 60% from behind the arc.
What really stood out Tuesday night was the Hokies’ defense. Ever since surrendering just 17 second half points to Iowa, Virginia Tech seems locked in on that side of the court. They held Radford to under 40% from the field, and most of their made baskets were contested. We all know how quickly the Hokies can put the ball in the bucket, but the one aspect that was holding them back was the lack of intensity and execution on defense. It is a very encouraging sign, now that conference play (and Kentucky) are right around the corner.
Justin Robinson may not have led the team in scoring, but the way he commanded the floor earns him the game ball in my book. Every time he touched the basketball, he carved up Radford’s defense by collapsing the defense and finding the open night. He punctuated the win with a perfectly placed alley-oop pass that Ahmed Hill threw down. Robinson finished the game with 11 points and 9 assists on 5-of-6 shooting.
Kerry Blackshear and Justin Bibbs tied for the team lead in points with 20 apiece. Bibbs did most of his damage from the three-point line, hitting on 4-of-5 from his perimeter attempts and shot 8-of-10 overall. Meanwhile, Blackshear went 11-of-11 from the charity stripe and 4-of-6 from the field.
The Hokies will host Maryland Eastern-Shore on Sunday, looking to improve to 9-1 on the year.
Hokies vs. Highlanders Box Score