Nahiem Alleyne scored a game-high 18 points, and Virginia Tech got off to a fast start in cruising past Coppin State 74-42 in a nonconference game Friday night at Carilion Clinic Court.
With the victory, the Hokies moved to 2-0 on the season, while Coppin State fell to 0-2.
More importantly, the Hokies gave Mike Young his first home victory. On Tuesday, the Radford, Virginia native won his 300th career game, but the victory Friday night was much sweeter.
“It was great,” Young said “I walk through that building [Cassell Coliseum] in the summer and think about coaching the Virginia Tech basketball team, and for that to come true in here, that was great. I’ve told you, I can’t express how happy I am to have the opportunity. It’s awesome.”
Young started Alleyne for the first time because of his defense against Clemson, but against Coppin State, his offense certainly stood out. The freshman hit 6 of 8 from the floor, including four 3-pointers. He led a balanced attack for the Hokies, who had nine players to score.
Alleyne hit his first two shots – a 3-pointer and a wing jumper – helping the Hokies blitz Coppin State from the start. Tech built a 27-3 lead in the first 12:15 of the game, hitting four 3-pointers in the first three minutes.
The Hokies came out with energy on the defensive end as well, forcing Coppin State into a miserable shooting first half. The Eagles made just one of their first 20 shots and missed 17 straight at one stretch. They finished with only four made field goals in the first half.
They weren’t much better in the second half, hitting just 10 shots. The Eagles shot just 19.7 percent (14 of 71), and they turned the ball over 16 times.
“We didn’t see the jersey as Coppin State,” guard Wabissa Bede said. “We just saw five dudes out there. We didn’t try to judge anybody. We knew they were a great team. We knew they were a high-level team that could shoot the 3 very well … They could come in here and make 20 3’s. You never know guys. They’re a team that’s going to shoot 40 3’s. We came out at them with high hands and made them take contested shots.”
P.J. Horne added nine points for the Hokies, who shot 44 percent from the floor and hit 11 3-pointers. Bede dished out 10 assists and grabbed nine rebounds. Andrew Robinson led Coppin State with 15 points.
(Wabissa Bede on Alleyne)
“He’s a great player. He’s confident, and we’re feeding it to him. I’m telling him he’s great for a reason. I keep putting that in his head and now he’s starting to believe it. He’s showing it now, and I’m so happy for him.”
(Coach Young on Alleyne)
“We thought, as a staff, he was the best we had on the floor in terms of being responsible on Tuesday. I inserted Nahiem in there, and he responded. His defense was again very, very good. He’s where he’s supposed to be and doing a great job. And getting four 3’s down was a joy to see.”
(Young on Bede’s performance)
“Wabissa Bede was fantastic. Guys like him affect winning.”
For the second straight game, Tech out-rebounded its opponent, this time by a 49-45 margin.
Tech now has hit at least nine 3-pointers in its first two games. On Friday, six different players hit a trey.
- Bede set a career high with 10 assists, besting his previous high of seven set last year’s in Tech’s 70-64 win at Pittsburgh.
- Bede’s nine rebounds also were a career high, topping his previous high of eight set last year in the Hokies’ 67-59 victory at Notre Dame.
- Horne hit three 3-pointers and now has four on the season. He came into this season with just three 3-pointers in his career.
- No Tech player played more than 26 minutes and nine players played at least 15 minutes.
- The Hokies got 26 points from their bench – led by Radford’s 10 points.