Hokies down Morgan State
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Adam Smith started the first three games of the season for Virginia Tech, but has come off the bench the past three.
If he continues to play like he played Sunday, he may never move back into the starting lineup.
"I'm playing well off the bench, so I don't know," Smith laughed when asked if he'd like to get back in the starting lineup.
The redshirt junior from Jonesboro, Georgia, scored 22 points to lead the Hokies (4-2) to an 83-63 win over Morgan State.
Smith, who led four Virginia Tech players in double figures, hit 7 of 11 from the floor, including a career-high six 3-pointers, as the Hokies sank 12 of 17 from long range in the game, and shot 56 percent overall (28-of-50).
Smith came one 3-pointer short of the Hokies' single-game record for 3-pointers, and he's hit 11 in the past two games.
"I think it's an advantage seeing the game from the outside first, watching them, checking out the pace and watching how the refs call the game," Smith said. "So I use it to my advantage.
"Whether I start or not, I've still got to produce. It's the same game. Everybody's got to contribute in some way or some form. I really don't think about it (starting) too much."
Morgan State (1-6), despite hitting just two of its first 17 shots, led 7-4 after a jumper by Blake Bozeman with 15:48 left in the first half. But the Hokies responded with a 10-1 run to take the lead, with four different players scoring and Will Johnston capping the run with a three-point play to give Virginia Tech a lead it never would relinquish.
The Hokies hit 3-pointers on their final four possessions of the first half and led 42-27 at halftime. Smith hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions, and then Devin Wilson closed the half by banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hokies the 15-point edge.
Smith scored 13 of his 22 in the second half, as Virginia Tech would go on to lead by as many as 24 points. In three games off the bench, Smith is averaging 18 points per game and shooting 57.7 percent from the floor (19-of-33), with 12 of the 19 baskets being 3-pointers.
"Adam's best games have been coming off the bench so far," Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. "It (taking Smith out of the starting lineup) wasn't for punishment. I'll start anybody because I don't get into that. I want to get our best guys that can finish on the floor at the end of the game, and I want to have the opportunity to be able to do that without having to worry about foul trouble or things of that nature."
Joey van Zegeren, who also came off the bench for the third straight game after starting the first three games, added 13 points for the Hokies, while Ahmed Hill had 12. Wilson had 10 points and 11 assists.
Morgan State shot just 31.6 percent (24-of-76). Bozeman, the son of Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman, scored 21 points to lead the Bears.
Tech: The Hokies are now 8-0 all time against Morgan State and 27-0 all time against teams from the MEAC . Virginia Tech has used three different starting lineups this season through six games . Malik Müller was back in the starting lineup for the Hokies after not starting against Miami (Ohio) . Wilson missed tying the school record for assists in a game by one.
Morgan State: Donte Pretlow, who hit the game-winning shot in the Bears' previous game, a 51-50 victory over Liberty, scored just two points against Virginia Tech. He hit just 1-of-12 from the floor.
Tech travels to Penn State for a Wednesday night game against the Nittany Lions as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Morgan State has the week off before traveling to Norfolk, Virginia, for a Saturday evening game against Norfolk State in its MEAC opener.
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