Bibbs, Blackshear Jr. help Virginia Tech blast Radford 95-68
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) The nation’s second-leading scoring team certainly did little to hurt its 96.8-point average on Wednesday night.
Justin Bibbs and Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 20 points each to carry Virginia Tech to a 95-68 victory over Radford.
Bibbs connected on 8 of 10 from the floor and hit four 3-pointers for the Hokies (8-1), who won their sixth straight game and scored at least 95 points for the sixth time in nine games. After being suspended for the first two games of the season by head coach Buzz Williams, Bibbs has returned to score in double figures in seven straight games.
Blackshear hit 4 of 6 from the floor and made all 11 of his free-throw attempts. Justin Robinson finished with 11 points and nine assists.
”I think we took the loss to St. Louis (on Nov. 16) really well,” Robinson said. ”We never frowned upon it and got down. We turned it around right away and have building on it ever since.”
Ed Polite Jr. scored 15 points to lead Radford (4-4), which scored the first four points of the game, but then withered under the Hokies’ attack. Virginia Tech, the nation’s leader in field-goal percentage coming in (54.6 percent) shot 62 percent from the floor (31 of 50) against Radford.
Using its transition game and crisp ball movement, Virginia Tech got the shots it wanted. Perhaps more importantly, the Hokies committed just eight turnovers – a season low.
”This was our first game with zero, what we deem, bad shots,” Williams said. ”It was our lowest turnover rate. I think those two things are always tied together.”
Thanks to some torrid shooting, the Hokies took control of this game within the first 15 minutes. Virginia Tech used two big runs – 14-2 and 13-2 – in that span to build a double-digit advantage and never trailed the rest of the way.
The Hokies capped their first half with back-to-back 3-pointers from Devin Wilson and Bibbs to end the first half and take a 47-30 lead. Virginia Tech shot 64 percent from the floor (16 of 25) in the first half, including 7 of 9 from beyond the 3-point arc.
”We knew coming in that we had to be able to control our emotions and the tempo of the game, and I don’t think we did either,” Radford coach Mike Jones said. ”I thought that, right from the beginning, their first 14 points, 11 of them were because of transition, so they were able to get out and do what they do best – which is push the ball in transition.
”As things continued to escalate in terms of them scoring the ball, then we kind of became unraveled. I thought we lost some of our emotional control. That started with me. Against a team like this, when you make mistakes like that, they take advantage of it.”
Radford: The Highlanders were competitive in road losses at Ohio State and Vanderbilt, but they weren’t much of a match for the Hokies. Radford shot a respectable percentage and held its own on the boards, losing only by four (28-24), but just wasn’t big enough or athletic enough to stay with the Hokies, especially on defense.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies’ future opponents would do well to keep Virginia Tech off the free-throw line. The Hokies made 25 of 31 from the line against the Highlanders and have made at least 20 free throws in eight of nine games this season. They’ve attempted no fewer than 23 in any game and are currently shooting 74.8 percent from the stripe.
TAKING ADVANTAGE AT THE LINE
For the second consecutive game, Blackshear attempted 11 free throws. He made 7 of 11 in the Hokies’ win at Ole Miss on Saturday and made a career-best 11 Wednesday night. He is shooting almost 80 percent from the line this season after shooting 55 percent as a freshman two years ago.
”It was something I wanted to improve on in the offseason, as well as last season,” Blackshear said. ”I know I was leaving points on the board for our team.”
Radford: The Highlanders return to action Saturday when they take on Erskine.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies take on Maryland Eastern Shore on Sunday.