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Virginia Tech, American look to their defenses in matchup

virginia-tech,-american-look-to-their-defenses-in-matchup

Virginia Tech has reeled off three straight convincing wins, suggesting the Hokies are ready for the Atlantic Coast Conference portion of their schedule.

But first Virginia Tech (8-3) has one last nonconference tune up, Thursday night in Blacksburg, Va., against American (5-6).

The Hokies’ strong play this month has come despite injuries to an already-thin backcourt.

After two-year starting point guard Sean Pedula suffered a sprained ankle in a win over Louisville, he sat out a victory over Valparaiso and played only 17 minutes as Virginia Tech handled Vermont 73-51 on Saturday.

Another starter, MJ Collins, who has a knee issue, failed to score in 18 wobbly minutes against Valparaiso and sat out against Vermont.

Even stretched thin, Virginia Tech still held Valparaiso to its season low and did the same against Vermont in handing the Catamounts their most decisive loss this season Saturday. Virginia Tech limited Vermont to one field goal in its first 18 shots on the Hokies’ way to a 24-2 lead that the Catamounts never challenged.

“We had something to do with their cold shooting, make no mistake about it,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “The best we’ve played defensively, and their stuff is good.”

Vastly improved Lynn Kidd scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, leading the Hokies to a 42-26 edge on the boards. Tyler Nickel added 13 points for Virginia Tech.

American has had a promising start under first-year coach Duane Simpkins. Last month, the Eagles nearly upset Georgetown for the second straight year before falling to the Hoyas in overtime, 88-83.

American is coming off a 77-69 win Saturday at VMI as Matt Rogers had 19 points and Elijah Stephens added 18.

“Great to get our first road win,” Simpkins said. “We have certain metrics that we try to hit to determine how well we’re playing defensively and today was the first day that we hit them.”

Rogers leads the Eagles in points (15.8), rebounds (6.4) and blocks (0.8) per game. He is tied for the lead in steals (1.3).

–Field Level Media

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