Much like the game against Lehigh, Delaware State started the night strong against the Hokies. The visitors went up 7-0 to begin the game before Tech found their footing. But this was not to be a night for close games or pesky opponents trying to get a win over an ACC school at home. Instead, Virginia Tech had the game in hand by half-time and on their way to setting some impressive records.
1 – Get use to the three pointer
To some, the most entertaining play in basketball is the dunk, or perhaps the alley-oop. But if the swish from behind the three-point line is more to your taste, then you are in luck. Mike Young loves to move the ball quickly, creating space and open looks. And the Hokies have the players willing and confident enough to fire away from deep.
The three-point line was moved back before the start of the 2019-20 season, but you wouldn’t notice the change in Blacksburg. Tech made 21 threes from 37 attempts. That sets a new school record for the most made threes in a game. Even more impressive, is that it sets a new ACC record for made threes. Enjoy it because you’ll be seeing a lot of shots from deep this year.
2 – Hokies spreading the love
Not only was Tech hot from behind the line, they were productive across the board. The Hokies put up 100 points, which will help ease Mike Young’s concerns slightly after giving up a season high 64 points. Landers Nolley deservedly gets the headlines. Five games into his collegiate career he is averaging over 20 points a game. But it’s the contributions from the rest of the squad that will help this team succeed once ACC play returns.
Fellow freshman Nahiem Alleyne is average 12.6 points, while P.J. Horne has 9.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game so far. Jalen Cone has slowly been worked into the rotation, but is already averaging 8.8 points a game, despite only playing about 14 minutes each night. In fact, five of the Hokies top six producers so far are new faces. Hunter Cattoor is average 6.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2 assists. While Tyrece Radford leads the team in rebounds averaging 7 per game, while also contributing 7.4 points. These young Hokies are exciting to watch and coming together nicely as a team under Mike Young.
3 – Young players deliver on expectations early
When Buzz Williams left Blacksburg people knew there would likely be a slight dip the following season. But when the top six players from last year’s team exited as well, the expectations were lowered significantly. With so many new faces in maroon and orange, the hope was to see potential and adjustment into a new offensive style. Even if that meant struggling early and throughout the year.
Instead, these young Hokies appear ready to compete – even the two players who are supposed to be high school seniors at the moment. Sure Tech was favored in all four home games against ‘lesser’ conference opponents. But they still had to deliver. They did so, and controlled each game. And on the back of an opening night, upset victory against Clemson on the road. It won’t be this easy in the ACC, but with each win the players gain confidence, Mike Young gets farther into implementing his system and the crowd gets to enjoy some entertaining basketball.
The Hokies hit the road next as they travel to the Maui Invitational in Hawaii next week. Tech start their three-game stint against #3 Michigan State on Monday night.
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