LeDay carries Hokies past Maine 80-67 in season opener
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) A year ago, Alabama State beat Virginia Tech in the season opener and maybe cost the Hokies an NCAA Tournament bid.
But Virginia Tech took care of business this time.
Zach LeDay scored 20 points off the bench to lead the Hokies to an 80-67 win over Maine on Friday.
LeDay led a balanced attack for the Hokies (1-0), who had four players in double figures. He hit 8 of 13 from the floor and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 13th career double-double.
Ahmed Hill, who missed last season with a knee injury, scored 14 points in his return, while Justin Robinson had 13 and Chris Clarke finished with 12.
''I think, like any other coach would say after game 1, we did good things, and I think there are distinct ways we can improve,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ''There's a lot of room for growth, for sure.''
Wes Myers led Maine (0-1) with 18 points.
Despite size and experience advantages, Virginia Tech didn't put away the Black Bears until midway through the second half. The Hokies led by eight with around 17 minutes remaining before going on a 15-2 run that was powered by LeDay's six points. Maine got no closer than the final margin.
''It was a good effort, but we just couldn't sustain it for the full 40 minutes,'' Maine coach Bob Walsh said. ''To stand up against them the way we did, I think we can take some good things out of that.''
The Hokies, taller and stronger at virtually every position, finished with a 44-36 rebounding advantage.
Maine: The Black Bears, picked to finish last in the America East, could be in for a long season after losing seven players off last season's team – five with eligibility remaining. Seven newcomers joined the program for this season.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies expect to be a deeper team with 85 percent of their scoring and rebounding returning. Their depth showed, as head coach Buzz Williams played 10 players – and eight of them scored.
RETURN TO ACTION
Hill wasn't the only Hokie to miss last season. Ty Outlaw sat out the entire year with hypertensive cardiomyopathy, or a thickening of the heart muscle that makes it harder to pump blood. Cleared in mid-June, the junior-college transfer saw his first action as a Virginia Tech player and scored one point in 15 minutes.
Myers transferred from Niagara to Maine and sat out last season and will be a key component for a young Black Bears squad. He hit 6 of 13 and grabbed eight rebounds and didn't look intimidated against the Hokies.
''He is a guy we can count,'' Walsh said.
The Black Bears will remain in Virginia, traveling to Farmville to face Longwood on Sunday in what will be the second of five straight road games to start the season.
The Hokies play the second of three straight home games to open the season next Tuesday when they take on High Point.