Virginia Tech’s offense disappeared on college basketball’s biggest stage Thursday. The Hokies return to Madison Square Garden in New York City one day later aiming for a better offensive effort as they face Washington in the consolation game of the 2K Classic.
Virginia Tech entered Thursday’s contest averaging 121.5 points but was no match for the hard-nosed defense of Saint Louis. The Billikens limited them to poor shooting percentages across the board - 40.4 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from behind the arc and 63.9 percent from the foul line. Perhaps the Hokies can regain their form against a Washington team that had trouble containing Providence in Thursday’s other 2K Classic semifinal. The Huskies allowed the Friars to shoot 51 percent from the field and 8-of-15 from behind the arc in a 77-70 setback.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (2-1): Ahmed Hill and Justin Bibbs were a combined 16-of-25 on Thursday, but their teammates only managed to make five shots in 27 attempts. Hill made 10-of-16 shots from the floor and 5-of-9 from 3-point range en route to 26 points and is averaging 21.7 points on the young season. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who came into Thursday’s affair averaging 26.5 points, was limited to four points on 1-of-7 shooting against Saint Louis.
ABOUT WASHINGTON (2-1): The Huskies placed four players in double digits in Thursday’s contest, led by Noah Dickerson’s 19 points. Dickerson, who was coming off a 28-point, 22-rebound effort in the previous game, was held to six rebounds against Providence before fouling out. Jaylen Nowell registered 14 points and seven steals in his third career game for Washington and is quickly making a name for himself this month, including a 32-point performance in his collegiate debut Nov. 10 against Belmont.
1. Virginia Tech missed 31 shots and 13 free throws while grabbing only seven offensive rebounds on Thursday.
2. Washington committed 20 turnovers on Thursday - six by Matisse Thybulle.
3. Bibbs was suspended for the first two games of the season for unspecified reasons.
PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 72, Washington 66