Blacksburg, Va. — After losing by 21 points to North Carolina earlier in the week, Virginia Tech came out scorching on its home floor Saturday by knocking down 14 threes en route to a 78-56 win over the Syracuse Orange.
Virginia Tech put the clamps down early on Syracuse and made it difficult for the Orange to get any sort of dribble penetration. On the other end, the Hokies moved the ball swiftly around the perimeter, making the Syracuse 2-3 zone work until Tech could find an opening. They accomplished that and Justin Robinson couldn’t be contained — he poured in seven made triples on eight attempts in the first half.
The Syracuse offense struggled by turning the ball over 9 times in the first 20 minutes, but Frank Howard had 8 points and 4 steals while Oshae Brissett and Tyus Battle had 7 and 6 points, respectively. But the big story was Virginia Tech’s shooting as it made 10 first half threes. With Syracuse struggling to contain, Virginia Tech took a 43-24 into the break.
Syracuse came roaring out of the intermission on an 8-0 run to get back within 11, forcing a Virginia Tech timeout. After that sequence, a flagrant one was whistled on the Hokies as Oshae Brissett took an elbow to the face. Tyus Battle was also fouled and took two free throws and the Orange made 3-for-4. The fouls continued a theme as both Syracuse and Virginia Tech combined to exceed their foul total from the first half in the first eight minutes of the second half.
Tech responded with a 9-0 run to create separation that included a pair of threes from Ty Outlaw and dunk from Ahmed Hill and never looked back from there. Syracuse never got the game back within single-digits as the offense struggled to ever get going beyond a few spirts. Credit Virginia Tech though for making things difficult, disrupting initial penetration and for playing sound help defense all night.
The freshmen got same late burn in a blowout and were somewhat of a silver lining on a terrible night for Syracuse. Buddy Boeheim hit a three, Robert Brawsell made two free throws and Jalen Carey got himself a bucket. The loss moves Syracuse to 14-6 overall and 5-2 in the conference.
Justin Robinson had a career day for VT with 35 points and became the school’s all-time leader in assists as he had 8 dimes in this one. He finished his night shooting 9-13 from distance. Virginia Tech shot 46.7 percent from three and 52.1 percent from the floor.
Brissett finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds while Howard had 13 points and 4 steals. Battle had 10 points on 3-10 shooting.
Syracuse continues its road trip with two away games next week. The Orange take on Boston College Wednesday and finish with Pittsburgh on Saturday. BC and Pitt have two wins a piece in conference.