Following its seven dunks, the most in the Mike Young era, the No. 24 Virginia Tech men’s basketball team defeated Longwood 84-58 Monday night at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hokies (7-1, 1-0 ACC) got off to a slow start but kicked it into gear the second half and rolled past the Lancers (1-7, 0-2 Big South) for their fourth consecutive win against Longwood dating back to 2008. Young is now 1-0, as this was his first contest against the Lancers and their head coach Griff Aldrich.
Tech was dominant offensively, shooting 49.2% and collecting 14 offensive rebounds. Jalen Cone led the team with 18 points, all coming from behind the arch. Keve Aluma contributed 14 points and four rebounds to the win. Tyrece Radford showed strength all around, leading the Hokies with a team-high eight rebounds and scoring nine points.
On the defensive end, Tech racked up a season-high nine steals and forced the Lancers to commit 15 turnovers. The Hokies scored 15 points off those errors. Hunter Cattoor, Wabissa Bede, Aluma and David N’Guessan picked up two steals each. The Hokies held Longwood to 43.6% shooting from the field and 23% from behind the arc.
Nahiem Alleyne came out just as he left off and drained a 3 to put the Hokies on the board in a competitive first half. A few minutes later Tech went on a 14-point run, which included three 3-pointers, two from Cone. Cone led the Hokies in the first half with nine points, which came by a way of three 3s. The Lancers went on a seven-point run to end the half, shrinking the Hokies lead to 34-30 at the break.
VT started the second half hot with a 10-point run contributed by Radford, Justyn Mutts and Alleyne. The Lancers answered with an eight-point run of their own cutting the Hokies lead back down to five.
Tech began to pull away at the eight-minute mark with a 13-point run, upping the Hokies’ lead to 22 points and salting the game away. Contributing to the run was another pair of threes from Cone and a dunk from Aluma.
The Hokies grabbed nine steals, marking their season high to top their previous high of five, which they did against Coppin State in their last game. Tech has had 14 steals its last two games, marking its best two-game stretch in that category.
Tech’s bench scored 45 points, the second most of the season (51, Coppin State).
All 13 of Tech’s players made an appearance on the court.
The Hokies outscored the Lancers 21-1 off second-chance points.
Tech will resume its ACC slate against Miami (4-2, 0-1 ACC) on Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 6 p.m. inside Cassell Coliseum with coverage available through the ACC Network.