THE FLATS - Virginia Tech shot 52.8 percent from the field in a 76-56 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon at sold-out McCamish Pavilion.
Both teams were red-hot coming out of the gates, as Georgia Tech made five of its first six shots and Virginia Tech started 5-of-8. Georgia Tech's Tadric Jackson keyed the Yellow Jackets' early spurt with four buckets in the first four minutes of the game (including three three-pointers), which helped stake the Jackets to a 14-8 lead.
However, it was all Virginia Tech from that point on. The Hokies closed the first half on an 18-6 run to take a 43-29 halftime lead and opened the second period with a 30-9 spurt that saw their lead balloon to as large as 35 points. VT, which was shooting 66.7 percent from the field with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, made 28-of-53 shots for the contest and scored 24 points on fast breaks.
Playing in front of three busloads of fans from his hometown of Tifton, Ga., Jackson led Georgia Tech (11-16, 4-10 ACC) with 13 points. Jackson's brother, Tyrie, is a redshirt-freshman guard for Virginia Tech. The younger Jackson scored six points in 16 minutes of action.
Justin Robinson led Virginia Tech (19-8, 8-6 ACC) with 18 points.
The game was essentially decided in the first 20 minutes. Virginia Tech, ranked fifth nationally in field-goal percentage, did whatever it pleased against the Jackets' zone defense, assisting on 14 of 16 baskets before halftime and burying Georgia Tech's offense after it jumped out to a six-point lead in the first 4 minutes.
Virginia Tech: After a dramatic overtime performance that snapped Virginia's 15-game winning streak last weekend, the Hokies followed up with an 18-point loss at Duke, but they showed no lingering effects and mostly took a breather against Georgia Tech. Williams is accustomed to using 10 players in most games - eight players began the day averaging at least 10 minutes a game - and he got to play his reserves for most of the second half. Even better, the two starters to play the longest, Bibbs and Kerry Blackshear, were done after 24 minutes.
Georgia Tech: It's not getting any easier for the Jackets, who have been consumed by injuries. Point guard Jose Alvarado was lost to a season-ending elbow injury last Sunday against Duke. Freshman guard Curtis Haywood was lost to a season-ending shin injury late last month. Ben Lammers emerged as a standout ACC center last season, but he's playing on a tender ankle and clearly has his range limited. Georgia Tech trailed by 19 early in the second half when Lammers went to the bench for a break. He soon came back in and hit a runner, but the lead stood at 24.
Virginia Tech: Hosts No. 11 Clemson on Wednesday.
Georgia Tech: Visits No. 1 Virginia on Wednesday.