With its winning streak over, Virginia Tech will look to regain some momentum ahead of its ACC opener by winning its final two non-conference games, including Tuesday’s matchup with visiting Presbyterian. The Hokies proved they could hang with the best in the country in Saturday’s 93-86 loss to No. 8 Kentucky and should have little trouble with the Blue Hose.
Buzz Williams’ team led Kentucky for much of the first 30 minutes and played the Wildcats even for the next nine minutes before succumbing to an 8-3 run that decided the outcome. “I think this is good for us because it’s before Christmas and we are going to play a lot of teams like this over the next 70 days,” Williams told the media. “I think playing in this environment, this arena, this talented of a roster against a Hall of Fame coach, all of that stuff is really healthy.” What also is healthy is the Hokies’ shooting percentage, which improved to 55.5 percent as Justin Bibbs, Ahmed Hill, Kerry Blackshear, Jr. and Justin Robinson combined to go 25-for-44 against Kentucky. The Blue Hose, led by senior guard Reggie Dillard, have regrouped following a 1-5 start to rattle off five straight victories.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Extra
ABOUT PRESBYTERIAN (6-5): Dillard (17 points per game) didn’t play much in 104-35 victory over Toccoa Falls, but prior to that, he had scored in double figures in nine straight games for the Blue Hose, who lost by 22 points in the only prior meeting with the Hokies in 2014. Davon Bell has given coach Dustin Kerns a solid No. 2 scorer by doubling his output from a season ago, mostly thanks to improved shooting particularly from 3-point territory, where he has more makes this season (11) than his previous three seasons combined (five). JC Younger took advantage of playing Toccoa Falls to score 28 points, which was more than his previous three games combined.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (9-2): Robinson thrived against Kentucky with 19 points and nine assists, and for the second time in three games, he came within one assist of a double-double. The junior guard has improved his assists per game from 4.6 last season to 6.1 while becoming a solid 3-point shooter for the Hokies, who rank fourth nationally with 19.7 helpers per contest. If form holds true, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a freshman guard from Canada, is due for a big game scoring wise as he has alternated good and bad games for most of the season.
1. The Blue Hose rank last in the Big South in field goal percentage defense (47.3 percent).
2. Virginia Tech has made at least six 3-pointers in 21 straight games, including 10 or more in each of the last six contests.
3. The Hokies are first in the nation in scoring (95.3 points) and shooting percentage (55.5), and third in 3-point shooting (46.7).
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 102, Presbyterian 75