Virginia Tech overpowers North Carolina A&T for a 76-59 win
BLACKBURG, Va. (AP) — Ahmed Hill led a balanced attack with 14 points as Virginia Tech beat an overmatched North Carolina A&T squad 76-59 on Thursday.
The Hokies’ early dominance in the paint, a 19-6 points off turnovers edge and poor shooting by North Carolina A&T doomed the visitors. “The way we play leads to wide open shots,” said Hill.
“Poor shooting led to a lot of opportunities for them,” Aggies coach Jay Joyner said. “We didn’t get the job done offensively in the first half. ... You can’t spot an ACC opponent (a big lead) and think you’re going to have a successful day.”
PJ Horne added 10 for Tech and Nickeil Alexander-Walker grabbed eight rebounds.
Hokies coach Buzz Williams liked his team’s effort but said, looking ahead to Atlantic Coast Conference play, “We’ve got a long way to go.”
A 10-0 run midway through the first half gave the Hokies (11-2) a lead they never relinquished after trading baskets with the Aggies early on. A&T (6-8) shot just 24 percent from the field before the break.
For the game Tech shot 49 percent while North Carolina A&T climbed up to 37 percent. The Hokies also boasted a 33 to 14 advantage in bench scoring and led by as many as 23 points in the second half.
“I really like the versatility of the pieces,” Williams said of his roster, although the floor rotation is bound to shrink somewhat now that non-conference play is over.
“We’re a great offensive team right now,” Hill said about his team leading the nation in field goal percentage, “but we’ve got some things to improve on defense.”
Femi Olujobi led the Aggies with 21 points and Davaris McGowens chipped in with 12.
“We focused on the main players (defensively) they had,” Horne said.
North Carolina A&T: The Aggies are not afraid to play up. The Aggies faced off against their fifth Atlantic Coast Conference team over the past three seasons; that includes Clemson earlier this season.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies is 9-1 in its last 10 games, the only loss coming on the road at Kentucky on December 16.
Virginia Tech is now 31-0 against the teams currently in the MEAC, including a 6-0 mark against North Carolina A&T. ... Olijubi led the nation in scoring after the first four games of the season (29.4) but has now slipped toward the bottom of the Top 20.
THEY SAID IT
Looking ahead to the Virginia game in Blacksburg next Wednesday, Hokies head coach Buzz Williams called his counterpart at UVA - Tony Bennett - “a future Hall of Famer.” As for Sunday’s game: “we’ve had less success against Syracuse then we’ve had against Virginia. The next three days (of preparation) will be very important.”
North Carolina A&T starts its MEAC schedule by hosting Norfolk State on Jan. 6.
Virginia Tech is at Syracuse for a New Year’s Eve game.