EditorsNote: adds “on Wednesday” in lede
Sophomore forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 20 points, and junior forward Kerry Blackshear added 17 points and nine rebounds as No. 13 Virginia Tech extended its winning streak to five games with an easy 82-60 nonconference victory over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday.
The Hokies (10-1) remained undefeated in six home games this season while improving to 6-0 all-time against North Carolina A&T and 33-0 all-time against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponents.
Junior guard Quavius Copeland scored 16 points as the Aggies (4-7) fell after consecutive victories and wins in four of their previous five games. They started the season 0-5 in a run that included defeats at Wake Forest and Maryland.
Senior guard Justin Robinson had 14 points for Virginia Tech, which has one more nonconference game remaining before the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play on New Year’s Day at home against Notre Dame. Senior guard Ahmed Hill scored 11 points for the Hokies.
In what was a low-scoring game early, Virginia Tech held an 11-7 lead midway through the first half. North Carolina A&T did not hit double figures in scoring until Copeland sank a 3-pointer with 8:21 remaining in the opening half.
Milik Gantz scored 14 points for North Carolina A&T. Gantz was coming off a career-best 27-point effort against Tennessee State on Saturday.
The Hokies took control of the game by outscoring the Aggies 18-9 over the final seven minutes of the first half.
Virginia Tech used its size advantage to outrebound North Carolina A&T 42-20, including a 15-3 advantage on the offensive glass. The Hokies had a 21-6 advantage on second-chance points and a 46-26 advantage on points in the paint.
Virginia Tech, which entered fourth best in the nation while shooting 44.1 percent from 3-point range, went 7 of 20 (35 percent) from long distance. The Hokies were just 3 of 10 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half.
Virginia Tech’s 10-1 record is tied for the third-best 11-game start in school history. The Hokies twice started a season 11-0, both before 1920.
The Hokies are 5-0 in December with one more game remaining in the calendar year. The last time they went 6-0 in December was in the 2016-17 season when they went on to upset No. 5 Duke on New Year’s Day 2017 in the ACC opener.
—Field Level Media