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Virginia Tech men beat backyard rival Radford

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BLACKSBURG — When Mike Young was a rookie head coach at Wofford in 2002, he picked up the second victory of his head-coaching career with an upset win over Virginia Tech at Cassell Coliseum.

Young is now the coach at Virginia Tech. And Young and his Hokies made sure Radford rookie head coach Darris Nichols did not earn the second victory of his head-coaching career at Cassell on Monday night.

The Hokies shot 51.7% from the field in the second half and beat New River Valley neighbor Radford 65-39.

Tech (3-0) led the entire second half.

All three of Tech’s wins this season have been by at least 20 points.

Nichols once served as one of Young’s assistant coaches at Wofford. Shane Nichols, who is Darris’ older brother and assistant, both played for and coached under Young at Wofford.

All three men on Radford High School graduates.

Monday marked the 600th game of Young’s head-coaching career. He is in his third season at Tech after spending 17 seasons at the helm of Wofford.

Wofford graduate transfer Storm Murphy scored 17 points for the Hokies. He was 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

Tech’s Justyn Mutts had 11 points and eight rebounds. Keve Aluma had 10 points. Hunter Cattoor had seven points and nine rebounds.

Radford (1-2), which was coming off a 73-52 loss at Virginia, shot just 28% from the field.

Tech was 10 of 23 from 3-point range (43.5%), while Radford was 2 of 24 from that distance (8.3%).

Radford turned the ball over 18 times and was outrebounded 41-32.

With Virginia Tech leading just 25-20 early in the second half, the Hokies went on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 33-20 with 15:31 to go. Aluma had the first three baskets of that run.

Leading 39-26, Tech went on a 13-3 run to extend the cushion to 52-30 with 10:06 remaining. Tech sank three 3-pointers in the run.

The 13-3 run began when Murphy dribbled the ball through the legs of a Radford defender as he raced between that defender and another Highlander, continued dribbling and then passed the ball to Mutts for an alley-oop dunk.

South Florida transfer Rashun Williams scored eight points for the Highlanders.

With the game tied at 7, Virginia Tech went on a 13-0 run to build a 20-7 lead with 8:31 left in the first half. Tech led the rest of the game.

Radford finished the first half on a 13-5 run. So the Hokies led just 25-18 at halftime.

Virginia Tech shot just 34.5% from the field in the first half, but Radford shot only 26.9%.

Tech was just 3 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half, but Radford was a mere 1 of 13 (7.7%).

Radford had eight turnovers in the first half to Tech’s seven.

Point guard Camron McNeil, a junior-college transfer, made his first start for the Highlanders.


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Mark Berman covers Virginia Tech men’s basketball and many other teams at the university. He also helps cover other colleges, including Radford, VMI, Roanoke, Washington and Lee and Ferrum.

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