Reporting James Sikorski
Virginia Tech survived a second half surge from North Carolina State to win 77-69. The Hokies took a commanding 13-point lead into halftime, but failed to put away its counterpart in the second half.
With 3:08 remaining in the game, N.C. State (12-10, 2-6 ACC) was able to pull the score to within 10-points and seemed to have all the momentum. But at this stage of the game, time was not on the Wolfpack’s side. Virginia Tech (15-6, 5-3 ACC) was able to answer any shot with a basket of their own and eventually held on for the eight-point win.
After letting N.C. State hang around to begin the game, Virginia Tech seemed to flip the switch and grow its lead to as much as 16-points. The formula for Virginia Tech’s early success was dominating the boards—at one point Virginia Tech had 16 rebounds to N.C. State’s five.
Jeff Allen led the way for the Hokies with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He was able to assert himself by cleaning up the glass and capitalize on second chance points in the paint. He shot 50-percent from the field and at times dazzled with a cross-over that would make Malcolm Delaney jealous.
Delaney had enough to brag about himself tonight. He finished with a game high 22 points—giving him over 2,000 points for his career—while dishing four assists and adding two steals. He went 7-for-16 from the field and didn’t hurt the Hokies with any poor shots.
Overall, it was a group effort for Virginia Tech to hold onto the lead. Along with Delaney and Allen, two other Hokies reached double digits in points.
Erick Green continued his solid season with 13 points, four rebounds and two assists. He has been a true diamond in the rough for Seth Greenburg this season. If Green doesn’t play as strong as he has of late, there is no way Virginia Tech wins half its games.
Terrell Bell enjoyed a quiet breakout game to his slow offensive start this season. Bell has typically been a role player to help keep things in place and make the plays that don’t appear on the stat sheet. Tonight, Bell finished with 13 points—the fifth time he’s cracked double digits.
Helping Allen dominate the boards was center Victor Davila. Although he didn’t do much to help the team offensively, his 13 rebounds proved to be valuable in setting up second chance points for Virginia Tech and stalling N.C. State drives after a missed shot.
N.C. State refused to back down to Virginia Tech and showed great resilience to keep the game close at the end. C.J. Leslie had an outstanding game off the bench while Tracy Smith and Scott Wood contributed solid performances. In the end, the three players couldn’t find the help they needed from other teammates to finish the comeback.
Virginia Tech is playing great basketball as it enters the home stretch of the season. Up next is Boston College Saturday afternoon—they are suffering a three game losing streak and coming off blowout losses against Duke and UNC.