MBB vs. Radford, Nov. 15, 2021

Storm Murphy vs. Radford, Nov. 15, 2021.

In head coach Mike Young’s 600th career game — and while coaching against two of Young’s former assistants from Wofford in Darris and Shane Nichols — the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team earned a 65–39 win over the Radford Highlanders on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

After a sloppy first half that included seven Virginia Tech turnovers and a 34.5% shooting performance from the field, the Hokies (3–0) responded in the second 20 minutes by outscoring the Highlanders (1–2) 40–21 and going 7–11 from three.

“As tough as we were defensively, I thought we were disconnected and soft offensively,” Young said.“Not real pleased in that regard.”

Virginia Tech held Radford to 28% shooting from the field and 2–24 from 3-point range.

“I thought we had some open looks,” said Darris Nichols, Radford’s head coach. “Sometimes in these games it’s hard to simulate their length and athleticism every day in practice.”

“If our offense is my biggest concern, then I will rest well tonight,” Young said. “You guys all know what we have in that locker room in terms of offensive output.”

The Highlanders trailed by only seven points at the end of the first half, but Virginia Tech grew its lead to 11 early in the second thanks to two buckets from forward Keve Aluma, who had 10 points and four rebounds on the night.

The highlight of the game came in the second half with the Hokies leading by 15. Point guard Storm Murphy beat Radford’s half-court trap by dribbling between Josiah Jeffers’ legs, then throwing a lob to Justyn Mutts for a right-handed tomahawk slam.

“Remember the movie ‘The Exorcist’ when that guy’s head twists around and around?” Young said, laughing. “Had that not gone as it did, that would’ve been me.”

Murphy led the team in scoring with 17 points and added three assists, none prettier than the alley-oop to Mutts. It was Murphy’s highest scoring game of the season thus far, only missing one shot and knocking down four 3-pointers.

“I think I needed to break the seal a little bit,” Murphy said. “A lot of it goes into preparation, shooting in practice until I feel good, and I think I did that preparing yesterday and today.”

Mutts also poured in 11 points of his own to go along with eight rebounds.

Another emerging contributor is sophomore guard Darius Maddox. Maddox knocked down two triples with his quick release as he continues to look more confident in his minutes on the floor.

“He’s one of the most skilled hoopers I’ve played with in a long time,” Mutts said about Maddox. “He’s going to open up a lot of eyes this year.”

Virginia Tech starts the season 3–0 for the third time under Young with the win, and will look to move to 4–0 on Thursday against St. Francis (Pa.).

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