November 22, 2017 / 2:32 AM / a month ago

Preview: Houston Baptist at Virginia Tech

With the exception of a one-game blip, Virginia Tech has been one of the most productive offensive teams in the nation in the early part of the season. The Hokies hope to continue that trend when they host Houston Baptist on Tuesday in the final game of the 2K Classic.

After suffering their first defeat of the season - a 77-71 loss to St. Louis on Thursday at Madison Square Garden, the Hokies bounced back to hammer Washington 103-79 the following day. Virginia Tech has reached triple digits in all three of its wins, which have come by an average of 31.7 points. The Hokies ranked third in the nation in scoring (104.2 points), fourth in field-goal percentage (57.3) and sixth in 3-point percentage (47.6 percent) through Sunday. The Huskies lost their first two games in the tournament, falling to Belmont (93-88) and Detroit Mercy (116-109 in overtime).

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra

ABOUT HOUSTON BAPTIST (1-3): The Huskies like to play an up-tempo game and have four players averaging double digits in points, with guard Braxton Bonds (9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists) right on the cusp. The offense runs through the post and big men Josh Ibarra (18 points, 10 rebounds) and David Caraher (16.8, 6.5), but the backcourt duo of Jalon Gates (12.3 points) and freshman Ian DuBose (13.3, 5.8 rebounds) also can fill it up. The Huskies don’t shoot particularly well from 3-point range (32.3 percent), but they rely on getting to the foul line as they’ve shot 107 free throws in four games.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (3-1): The Hokies have five players averaging double digits in points, including three who score at least 19 per game. The backcourt duo of Justin Bibbs (22.5 points) and Ahmed Hill (22, five rebounds) leads the way, while freshman swingman Nickeil Alexander-Walker (19.3 points) is off to a great start to his collegiate career. Hill has gone 15-for-25 from 3-point range to lead a Hokies team that is lighting it up from beyond the arc.

TIP-INS

1. Virginia Tech’s three performances of at least 100 points are its most since 1988-89.

2. After outrebounding their first two opponents by 43, the Hokies are minus-9 on the boards in their last two contests.

3. Gates has re-established his career high for scoring in consecutive games with 15 points against Belmont and 18 versus Detroit Mercy.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 103, Houston Baptist 86

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