BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — If Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney needed extra motivation for his team’s game with Georgia Tech, he only needed to look at the box score from the last time these two squads met.
He scored eight points and turned the ball over eight times in the Hokies’ 72-57 loss to the Yellow Jackets on Jan. 25.
His performance the second time around was much better. Delaney scored 22 of his season-high 33 points in the first half to lead Virginia Tech past Georgia Tech 102-77 on Sunday.
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The Hokies (16-7, 6-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) now have won 12 of their past 15 games and are alone in fourth place in the ACC.
“I worked hard and I played smarter, and I hit shots,” Delaney said, explaining the difference between the two games. “I did what I normally do. In Atlanta, I just didn’t make shots.
“Honestly, I forgot about that game. After I came home and got in the gym, that game was out of my mind. We lost the game, but I wasn’t thinking about, Oh, we need to play Georgia Tech and we need to beat them because of how I played.’ I was thinking about getting a win. That was my only focus.”
Delaney hit 9 of 14 from the floor for the game, including three 3-pointers, and he connected on 12 of 14 from the free-throw line. He missed his career high in points by just four.
Behind him, Virginia Tech scored the first nine points of the game and never trailed. Delaney hit the game’s opening basket and added a 3-pointer in that run.
Georgia Tech (10-14, 3-8), which has lost five straight, cut the lead to 9-6 on a basket by Iman Shumpert, but the Hokies embarked on a 33-11 run over the next eight minutes to blow the game open. Virginia Tech hit 14 of its first 17 shots from the floor.
Delaney scored 15 during the spurt, including four free throws after Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt received back-to-back technical fouls from official Roger Ayers with 7:53 remaining and was ejected.
“The official (Ayers) made his judgment, and I have to go with that,” Hewitt said. “Specifically, what led to that, you’d have to ask him, and in no way am I putting it on him. I tried to ask, and at that point, he did not want to hear it. That’s when I should have gone back to my huddle.
“I apologize to our team and to Georgia Tech for putting myself in that position. Obviously, whatever I did was warranted to get put out of the game. I apologized to my team at halftime and after the game. It was poor judgment on my part, and I should not have put myself in that position.”
Georgia Tech did not get closer than 13 points in the second half. The Hokies, who looked fresh after an eight-day layoff, led by as many as 30 and shot 55.2 percent from the floor (32 of 58). They established a school record for points in an ACC game.
“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had some anxiety after the eight days off,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “I wasn’t sure if we could raise our temperature and get ready for the speed of the game. That’s what I pounded into them at our shoot-around.
“But as they have all season, they came out with a great attitude and great focus. It’s also good when you make every shot.”
Virginia Tech’s Jeff Allen had 25 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double and 12th of the season. Erick Green scored 15 points, while Terrell Bell had 13 for the Hokies.
Shumpert paced Georgia Tech with 27 points, including six 3-pointers. His six 3-pointers tied a career high.