The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team opened up the 2020-2021 season with a 77-62 win against Radford on Wednesday. The Hokies now have a 9-2 all-time record against Radford with the win.
Virginia Tech got out to a slow start offensively, shooting 5-17 from the field in the opening 10 minutes of the first half, including a 1/7 start from three-point range.
At the eight-minute media timeout, the Hokies trailed 16-13 while shooting 33% from the field. The slow start offensively was expected from both teams, as neither have been able to scrimmage or compete against other collegiate competition since March.
The Hokies were paced by transfers Keve Aluma and Cartier Diarra in the first half, but Mike Young’s offense was able to find some rhythm before heading to the locker room.
With six minutes remaining in the first half, Virginia Tech trailed Radford 18-16, but an Aluma three, an Aluma dunk, and a Diarra jumpshot forced a Radford timeout with the Hokies leading 23-22.
Sophomore guard Nahiem Alleyne was able to find his shooting stroke as well, scoring seven consecutive points to go into the locker room leading 37-31.
“We’ve got to get a great shot from guys that we want taking it.” Virginia Tech Head Coach Mike Young said. “And I’m not sure that we were doing that in the first half.”
The Hokies took control defensively early in the second half, but still led by just six points with over 10 minutes remaining.
Then, sophomore guard Hunter Cattoor was able to find his shooting stroke, hitting four consecutive 3-pointers to extend the Virginia Tech lead to 69-52 with 6:22 remaining in the game.
Cattoor’s hot hand was what put the Highlanders away, but it was an all around team effort in a limited capacity Cassell Coliseum that led to the 15-point win.
The Hokies were led in scoring by Aluma, who posted 19 points and showed his ability to shoot from beyond the arc at 6-foot-9. Alleyne added 14 points while Cattoor’s 12 points came from his second half three-point parade.
The Hokies showed how deep of a team they can be with six players scoring at least eight points despite the absence of sophomore guard Jalen Cone.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Young said when discussing the distribution of minutes among a Hokie team with depth through the bench. “We have a number of kids that can help us, and we’ll look at and adjust and things will evolve.”
Virginia Tech will take on Temple in its first game of the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m.