November 14, 2019 / 2:11 AM / 23 days ago

Virginia Tech starts slow, overwhelms SC Upstate

Freshman shooting guard Landers Nolley II scored 23 points as the host Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the South Carolina Upstate Spartans 80-57 on Wednesday night in Blacksburg, Va.

Nov 13, 2019; Blacksburg, VA, USA; South Carolina Upstate Spartans forward Bryson Mozone (5) shoots a three point basket against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Nolley made 8 of 14 shots from the floor, including 4 of 7 of his 3-pointers.

The Hokies, who are 3-0 under their new coach Mike Young, won their 26th consecutive home game against nonconference teams, which is a program record.

Virginia Tech junior Wabissa Bede, who placed his name into the transfer portal when previous coach Buzz Williams bolted for Texas A&M, has steadied the Hokies since he decided to stay. He scored just seven points against the Spartans but had a game-high eight assists.

Jalen Cone was the only other Hokies player to score in double figures with 11 points.

Virginia Tech, which has made three straight NCAA Tournaments, showed plenty of firepower overall, shooting 53.4 percent from the floor, including 48.1 percent on 3-pointers (13 of 27).

The Spartans (1-3) were unable to duplicate what the program accomplished the last time USC Upstate visited Blacksburg — a 64-63 upset win on Nov. 9, 2013.

This time, though, the Spartans arrived in Blacksburg with little rest, having lost at North Carolina Central on Monday. Virginia Tech hadn’t played since Friday.

Everette Hammond led the Spartans with 15 points, but the team shot just 37.7 percent from the floor, including 12 percent on 3-pointers (3 of 25).

Still, the upset-minded Spartans led for much of the game’s first 12 minutes, including its largest advantage at 14-9 and 16-11.

But the Hokies took over when a Cone 3-pointer gave them a 19-18 lead with 8:23 left in the first half. The Spartans trailed for the rest of the game and shot just 35.3 percent for the first 20 minutes, including 0-for-15 on three-pointers.

Virginia Tech shot 51.9 percent in the first half, including 7-for-10 on three-pointers, and that was the clear difference as the Hokies took a 38-24 lead into the break.

The Hokies stretched their lead to 16 points early in the second half, but the Spartans cut the deficit to nine at 52-43 after a Hammond three-point play with 11:18 left. But a 13-0 Hokies run put the Spartans away for good.

—Field Level Media

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