AP NEWS

Robinson, Virginia Tech cruises to 92-72 win over New Mexico

November 25, 2016

FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — Justin Robinson had 22 points and eight assists, Ahmed Hill added 18 points and Virginia Tech defeated New Mexico 92-72 in the first round of the Wooden Legacy on Thursday.

Chris Clarke had eight points, nine rebounds and four assists as the Hokies (4-0) capitalized on timely three-point shooting, an edge on the glass and good ball movement.

“Our chemistry on and off the court is crazy,” Robinson said. “We really don’t care who is scoring, who is doing anything. We just want to win.”

Tim Williams had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Elijah Brown scored 16 points for the Lobos (3-1), who fell to 6-17 all-time against ACC teams.

Virginia Tech scored nine unanswered points in a 1:30 stretch late in the first half to create separation, starting the run with Zach LeDay’s three-pointer to break a 23-23 tie. LeDay finished with 16 points.

In the second half, Virginia Tech pulled away behind the hot shooting of Hill and Justin Bibbs. Bibbs and Hill combined to score 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, while the Hokies shot 59.3 percent from the field after the break.

TURNING POINT

Virginia Tech moved the ball to start the second half and never stopped, finishing with 12 assists on 16 field goals. Williams said the willingness to make the extra pass was a testament to the selflessness of his team.

“If you don’t have the right character guys who are wanting to play for one another, then at some point the ball is going to get stuck, and I don’t think the ball gets stuck very often with our group,” Hokies coach Buzz Williams said.

HE SAID IT

Virginia Tech finished with 20 assists against eight turnovers, but Williams thought the latter total should have been even lower.

“And two of those turnovers were Zach out there dancing with the ball, and the whole organization told him to quit doing the shimmy-shake, so it should have been 20 and 6,” Williams said.

FRESHMAN STANDOUT

Khadim Sy had a team-high 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes for Virginia Tech, offering a much-needed presence on the glass for the four-guard offense. Williams sees the 6-foot-10 Sy as one of the team’s most important pieces, so the rest of the team doesn’t “feel like they are alone in the fight,” coach Williams said.

HE SAID IT, PART TWO

After a strong start by Tim Williams, Virginia Tech was able to collapse its defense and deny him entry passes. New Mexico coach Craig Neal said the Lobos must find compliments to Tim Williams, Brown and Jordan Hunter, who had 10 points.

“I think we had two guys on the floor that they didn’t really guard, and we got to look at that,” Neal said.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are ready for their non-conference tests. After starting the season against three pushovers, Virginia Tech looked sharp against its first opponent really capable of mounting a challenge to kick off an arduous four-game stretch that includes a road trip to Michigan as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

New Mexico: The Lobos must manufacture more touches for Tim Williams. After earning Mountain West player of the week honors for trouncing Houston Baptist and New Mexico State, the senior turned in another strong performance by making 8 of 13 shots. However, there were too many possessions where Tim Williams was a spectator despite having the hot hand. If New Mexico is going to do damage in conference, he has to be more central to the offense.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech will face Texas A&M on Friday in the winner’s half of the bracket, though the size and length of the Aggies could present serious issues to a perimeter-oriented team.

New Mexico plays Cal State Northridge on Friday on the other side of the draw. Provided the Lobos keep Micheal Warren in check after he broke out for 19 points against Texas A&M, they should respond quite well.