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FINAL: No. 10 Virginia Tech Uses Strong Second Half to Ground Boston College 77-66

The Hokies started off slow and sluggish, but really picked up the pace over the final twenty minutes.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech’s second conference game was nearly a carbon copy of their first. The No. 10 team in the country welcomed a middling ACC team into the confines of Cassell Coliseum and did not seem like their dominant selves for the majority of the first half. The Hokies, who came into today as the best team in terms of effective field goal percentage, only converted on 37 percent of their shot attempts en route to a subpar 30-point first half. It’s not as if the Hokies could not generate open looks, but simple miscues and sluggishness were the main causes of concern for Buzz Williams’ team ineffective performance. Boston College went into the break with a 32-30 lead.

After a Ky Bowman dunk to open the second half for Boston College, the Hokies went on an elongated 32-12 run to retake control of the game. Despite still being unable to hit their three-pointers (just 2-of-9 from deep in the second half), the Hokies began attacking the rim and getting Boston College into foul trouble, getting in the bonus minutes into the period. As a result, the Hokies shot 55.6 percent from the field and attempted nineteen free throws and scored 47 points in the final twenty minutes.

It also seemed that the pace really picked up in the second half on offense for Virginia Tech. This is a team that likes to get out and run the break, but they only ranked 307th in Adjusted Tempo per KenPom. Justin Robinson single-handedly was hell bent on changing that, with at least three drives to the rim in transition. This opened up the floor for Virginia Tech’s ball movement, allowing them to generate open shots with more than ten seconds left on the shot clock. The Hokies eventually built a 16-point lead, at which point they were able to ice the game away.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker continues to impress in his sophomore campaign. He led the Hokies with 25 points, playing stellar defense and being the “go get a bucket” player every great team has. Kerry Blackshear was quiet in the first half, but was the most efficient Hokie hitting on 6-of-7 shot attempts and adding eight points at the charity stripe, finishing with 20 points.

Virginia Tech’s defense is one of the reasons they are the No. 10 team in the country and that was on display again. The Hokies forced Boston College into committing twelve turnovers and won the rebounding battle decisively 39-25. Every shot was contested and nearly every rotation was perfect.

Twenty-five year old Jordan Chatman led the Eagles in scoring with 18, but was continuously forced inside the arc and finished 0-of-6 from three. Ky Bowman was second on the team in scoring, but was an inefficient 4-of-14 from the field despite playing the entire game.

With the win, the Hokies sit atop the ACC as the only team to win two conference games. They have to travel to Georgia Tech on Wednesday, but a huge test looms in Charlottesville next Tuesday as the first game against No. 4 Virginia takes place.