Tech drops ACC opener at Syracuse, 68-56

In its first ACC contest of the 2017-18 season, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team dropped a 68-56 affair against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome Sunday evening.

Freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker led the Hokies (11-3, 0-1 ACC) on the night, registering a team-high 19 points, two rebounds and an assist versus the Orange (12-2, 1-0 ACC) and their zone defense.

Knotted at 9-9 following the first media timeout, Syracuse got hot and went on a 15-3 run going into the intermission to take a 32-19 lead. Tech’s 19 points were the fewest it has scored in the first 20 minutes on the year.

The Hokies jumped out to a 12-2 run to begin the second half, nailing four consecutive shots from downtown behind Justin Bibbs’ two triples. The Orange would respond, however, going on a run of their own by scoring 17 of the next 20 points at the 8:22 mark.

Tech closed the game on a 10-2 stretch with a few steals in the closing minutes with its press, but it would not be enough in the conference opener.

Oshae Brissett was a key cog down low for ‘Cuse, collecting a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds.

• The Hokies had three players in double figures, as Justin Robinson and Bibbs tallied 10 points apiece, while Alexander-Walker scored 19. Alexander-Walker drilled four 3-pointers, marking his fourth game this season of doing so.

• Tech has now hit at least 10 3-pointers in seven games this season.

• Junior Chris Clarke pulled down 10 rebounds, marking his fifth game of collecting 10 or more boards. The Virginia Beach, Virginia native also chipped in five points.

• Tech capitalized when it caused Cuse mistakes, scoring 17 points off of turnovers compared to the Orange’s 11.

• Tech’s defense forced the second-most steals of the season, swiping eight – the most since the season opener against Detroit Mercy on Nov. 10.

The Hokies return to Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night to host arch-rival, Virginia. Tip is at 9 p.m. and the game will be shown live on the ACC Network and the ESPN app.

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