Virginia Tech made 10 3-pointers, including five over a pivotal run in the second half, in a 71-66 upset victory over No. 3 Michigan State in opening-round Maui Invitational action on Monday in Lahaina, Hawaii.
The Hokies (6-0) came into Monday’s matchup shooting better than 42 percent from behind the 3-point line, with 68 made as a team. The long ball served them well again, particularly during a 19-7 run spanning almost six minutes late in the second half.
Michigan State (3-2) committed 16 turnovers, which Virginia Tech turned into 20 points.
Hokies guard-forward Landers Nolley II made 4 of 6 from behind the arc, including a critical shot late. He scored a game-high 22 points.
Nolley, who came into the Maui Invitational averaging 20.2 points per game, also played a key role in the rest of a balanced scoring effort for the Hokies with five assists.
Five players scored in double figures for Virginia Tech. P.J. Horne finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, Nahiem Alleyne scored 10 points, and Hunter Cattoor scored 10 points off the bench. Wabissa Bede added 11 points and matched Nolley with a game-high five assists.
The Spartans enjoyed a 43-27 edge on the glass, contributing to a 17-6 advantage in second-chance points. However, the Hokies grabbed the most important offensive rebound of the afternoon on a missed Bede free throw, which closed the door on Michigan State’s rally effort.
Virginia Tech led by as many as 10 points down the stretch, but Michigan State cut it to one with just over a minute remaining when Aaron Henry, who scored a team-high 18 points, made a layup and 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions.
But the Hokies responded when Tolley, who stopped a 7-0 Michigan State run the prior possession with a bucket, made the last of his 3-pointers to push the lead back to four points.
Michigan State’s Xavier Tillman led all players with a season-high 14 rebounds, his third straight game with 10-plus boards.
Virginia Tech advances to Tuesday’s semifinal to face Dayton, which routed Georgia in Monday’s opener, 80-61. Michigan State takes on Georgia in the consolation bracket.
—Field Level Media