BLACKSBURG, Va. - The VMI Keydets reduced a 20-point deficit to 10 with 8:20 to go, but the Virginia Tech Hokies scored the next five points to pull back away en route to an 88-72 win in NCAA basketball action Saturday night at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.
In a game that VMI (1-2) had led for 10:24 of action in the first half, Virginia Tech (3-0) used aggressive moves to the basket, both on dribble drives and by slipping screens, to impose its will and take a 10-point lead to halftime.
That margin then grew to 20, 69-49, with 11:55 remaining, but the Keydets responded with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to 10, 69-59. The Hokies pulled back away with five unanswered points and VMI got no closer than 13 the rest of the way.
VMI was led in defeat by QJ Peterson, who had a game-high 29 points, including 23 in the second half. Peterson added eight rebounds and six assists, while Trey Chapman and Adrian Rich chipped in 10 markers apiece. Leading scorer Julian Eleby was held to a 3 of 7, seven-point night.
Virginia Tech was paced by Zach LeDay, who had his second double-double in the season's first three games with a 23-point, 12-rebound night that helped fuel Tech's 52-30 edge in points in the paint. LeDay also came off the bench and fueled the home team's 44-10 edge in bench scoring.
Despite the way the final score turned out, it was the Keydets who led for a good portion of the first half. VMI led by as many as six and led for 10:24 of game action, but Tech took a 24-23 edge on a dunk by Khadim Sy with 7:53 left in the first half and would not trail again.
Tech, in fact, closed the half on a 19-9 run to take the 10-point margin to the locker room, and set up the second half's result.
The Hokies finished the game 33 of 55 from the floor (60%) and won despite going just 15 of 29 from the line (51.7%). The Keydets were 26 of 59 (44.1%) and 11 of 15 (73.3%) respectively, while VMI went 9 for 24 (37.5%) from long range and Tech was 7 of 17 (41.2%).
VMI basketball will return to action Tuesday, when the Keydets travel to Clinton, S.C. to take on the Presbyterian College Blue Hose. Opening tip is set for 7 p.m.