Virginia Tech 79, Bethune-Cookman 54
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP)
Jeff Allen scored 19 points to help Virginia Tech overcome the sting of not making the NCAA tournament with a 79-54 win over Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday night in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.
Virginia Tech (22-11), making its 12th appearance in the NIT and fifth in eight seasons under head coach Seth Greenberg, will meet Wichita State in the second round on Sunday after the Shockers beat Nebraska 76-49.
''This isn't about not getting in,'' Greenberg said, referring to the Hokies' exclusion from the NCAAs. ''If we're motivated by not getting in, then we're motivated by the wrong thing. We're motivated because we want to win games.''
Senior guard Malcolm Delaney added, ''We're not playing to prove anything. We proved what we did during the season. We're just trying to win.''
Tech connected on 10 of its first 11 shots and took a 23-9 lead after Allen's basket with 13:01 left in the half. The Hokies led by as many as 23 in the first half and shot 61.3 percent (19 of 31).
Bethune-Cookman (21-13), the regular-season champion in the MEAC, was making its first appearance in postseason play since 1980 as a Division II program.
Delaney scored 13 points for the Hokies, who shot 55.6 percent from the floor (33 of 59), reserve Manny Atkins added 12 and Erick Green 11. Green and Delaney, Tech's starting guards, combined for 13 assists - a career-high eight by Green - and no turnovers.
''I still feel hurt,'' Green said of missing out on the NCAAs. ''But we're going to come out and try to win the NIT. Our goal is to win the NIT, so let's make it to New York and win it.''
Garrius Holloman led the Wildcats with 20 points.