RECAP: Virginia Tech Leads from Start to Finish in 88-53 Win over Lamar

Justin Bibbs and the Virginia Tech Hokies capitalized on a tired Lamar Cardinals team who were playing their second game in as many days, and rolled to the 88-53 win.
Justin Bibbs and the Virginia Tech Hokies capitalized on a tired Lamar Cardinals team who were playing their second game in as many days, and rolled to the 88-53 win.

Playing two games on the road in as many days is never an easy situation to be in. It was that exact situation that put an end to two winning streaks over the weekend. One was in the NBA, when the Milwaukee Bucks took down the Golden State Warriors, which was the Warriors’ second game day in two days.

The other streak that came to an end was that of the Lamar Cardinals. Just a day earlier, the Cardinals extended their winning streak to 3 games with a road win over the Liberty Flames. On Sunday, against a rested Virginia Tech Hokies team, the Cardinals were no match for the host Hokies.

Inside Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, VA, the Virginia Tech Hokies opened the game on a big run that took the momentum away from the Cardinals before they could even get on the scoreboard. The hosts led from start to finish, and the Hokies cruised to the 88-53 victory over the Cardinals.

From the outset of the contest, the Hokies were seeing red, and not just the ‘red’ on the Cardinals’ jerseys. They capitalized on the fact that the Cardinals were tired from their game the day before, and took complete control of the game from the opening tip.

Justin Bibbs scored the first 8 points of the game, and Virginia Tech would race out to a 12-0 lead before the Cardinals could even get on the scoreboard. Lamar was held without a point for over 5 minutes in the game, before Marcus Owens made a layup to end the drought for the Cardinals.

But, by then, the damage had already been done. Lamar’s backs were firmly against the wall, and they were never able to muster up any sustained comeback over the course of the game. The Cardinals would keep pushing on offense, but could never cut the deficit to a single-digit margin.

The Hokies would slowly build on their lead as the opening half wore on, and a layup from Seth Allen with 3 seconds left pushed Virginia Tech’s lead to 51-23 at the break.

Credit Lamar for still competing on both ends of the floor in the second half. If they had played that way for the entire game, it could have been a lot closer in the end. Despite a stronger team performance in the second half, the Cardinals were never able to get close than 26 in the second half.

Head coach Tic Price used a wide variety of player combinations during the game, as 13 different players logged at least 6 minutes of floor time. Several of their star players were quiet on the offensive end, and that’s not a recipe for success moving forward.

The end result of the game was never in question, and the Virginia Tech Hokies rolled to the 88-53 victory over the Lamar Cardinals on their home floor.

After a strong performance against the Liberty Flames on Saturday afternoon, the stars for Lamar were relatively quiet on Sunday. Nick Garth and Marcus Owens each scored a team-high 12 points in the loss. Freshman forward Dorian Chatman scored 8 points and pulled in 2 rebounds on the day.

Virginia Tech did a good job at shutting down other star players for the Cardinals. Kevin Booze (2 points), Lincoln Davis (2 points), Dontavious Sears (4 points), and Josh Nzeakor (2 points) were all held in check over the course of the game.

As for the Hokies, six different players reached double-figures in points on the afternoon. Forwards Zach LeDay (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Kerry Blackshear, Jr. (11 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-double to lead the team to victory.

Guard Justin Bibbs added in 17 points of his own, while Chris Clarke recorded 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in the win.

Looking Ahead

Despite the loss, the Lamar Cardinals (5-4) have the look of a team who will contend in the Southland Conference in 2015-16. They are made up primarily of young players, meaning fans have to like what they’ve seen so far and what the future holds. They will look to bounce back in theit next outing, when they kick off a three-game home-stand against all non-Division I teams, starting with a game against Jarvis Christian on Friday.

The win was the third-straight, and fourth in the last five games, for the Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3). All four of those wins have been against quality opponents, and they look to have erased the memory of their season-opening loss to the Alabama State Hornets. The Hokies return to the court on Saturday, when they play host to the Grambling State Tigers.

– T.B.