BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Landers Nolley II scored 23 points to lift Virginia Tech to an 80-57 victory over USC Upstate on Wednesday.
Nolley connected on 8 of 14 from the floor to pace the Hokies (3-0), who shot 53.4% (31 of 58) and connected on 13 3-pointers. Jalen Cone added 11 points.
Everette Hammond led USC Upstate (1-3) with 15 points.
Virginia Tech trailed early in the game, falling behind 16-11, but the Hokies’ Nahiem Alleyne hit baskets on back-to-back possessions, including a 3-pointer, and he sparked a 20-4 run that gave Virginia Tech the lead for good.
Four different Hokies hit 3-pointers in that run. The Hokies shot 51.9% (14 of 27) in the first half and led 38-24 at halftime.
The Spartans, who missed all 15 of their 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, cut the lead to nine on two occasions in the second half – the final time coming on two free throws by Hammond with 11:18 remaining. But the Hokies then went on a 10-0 run and ended any hopes of a comeback.
USC Upstate made just 3-of-25 3-point attempts.
USC Upstate: The Spartans, whose roster consists of 12 freshmen and sophomores, would do well to shoot fewer 3-pointers. They came into the game shooting 28.9% from beyond the arc and then missed their first 17 3-pointers against the Hokies. They’ll need better shot selection if they want to improve on their six-win total from last year.
Virginia Tech: Cone, a freshman played his best game, coming off the bench to score 11 points hitting three 3-pointers. He and the Hokies’ other freshman guard, Hunter Cattoor, combined for 20 points. Virginia Tech doesn’t have a deep bench and will need to get more from both players going forward.
USC Upstate: The Spartans returns to the court Monday at Akron.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at home against Lehigh on Saturday.