Print By JIMMY ROBERTSON -
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Justin Robinson scored 18 points and No. 15 Virginia Tech cruised past the Virginia Military Institute 89-68 on Wednesday night.
Robinson hit a trio of 3-pointers for the Hokies (7-1), who won their 21st straight regular-season nonconference game at home. Virginia Tech topped VMI (5-5) for the seventh consecutive time.
Virginia Tech often beats opponents with torrid long-range shooting, ranking fourth in the country in 3-point shooting percentage (44.9) and seventh in 3s per game (11.9). The Hokies turned up the defense against the Keydets, using their length against a smaller team to limit them to eight field goals in the first half.
Virginia Tech broke open a close game midway through the first half when it went on a 13-0 run. P.J. Horne and Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored four points each in that span, and then Jonathan Kabongo finished the run with a corner 3 that gave the Hokies a 30-13 lead with 8:11 left in the half. The Hokies led 42-21 at halftime and never were threatened.
The Hokies led by as many as 37 in the second.
Alexander-Walker finished with 15 points, and the Hokies shot 51.7 percent from the floor (30 of 58) and made 11 3-pointers. Tech also got a solid game from Horne, who made just his second start of the season and scored 12 points, hitting all six of his shots.
Garrett Gilkeson paced VMI with 21 points.
Virginia Tech: The past two blowout victories by the Hokies have afforded coach Buzz Williams the opportunity to work more players into the rotation to build depth for what has been a shallow squad so far. Freshmen Isaiah Wilkins and Kabongo both played in the first half. Behind Wilkins and Ty Outlaw, who scored 13 and nine points, respectively, the Hokies received 32 points and 17 rebounds from their bench.
VMI: VMI’s cold start continued a recent trend after the Keydets shot less than 35 percent in back-to-back losses to American and Longwood. VMI may have broken its funk in the second half against the Hokies, shooting 54.5 percent (18 of 33). The Keydets will need to continue that warm shooting if they want to enjoy any success in Southern Conference play, which starts this weekend.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies close out their three-game homestand when they take on South Carolina State on Sunday.
VMI: The Keydets play the third of four straight games on the road Sunday when they take on Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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