Keve Aluma scored a career-high 19 points in his Virginia Tech debut, and Nahiem Alleyne added 14, as the Hokies pulled away from Radford 77-62 in a nonconference game played Wednesday afternoon at Carilion Clinic Court.
The game marked the season opener for both squads, and the Hokies beat Radford for the ninth time in 11 meetings. Tech also extended its homecourt nonconference winning streak to 33 games and won its fifth straight season opener. Tech now has won 19 of its past 21 season openers.
Tech trailed for much of the first half, but managed to put together a run toward the end of the half to take the lead for good. A Justyn Mutts layup with 2:10 remaining gave Tech a 28-27 advantage, and then Alleyne scored the game’s next seven points, pushing the Hokies’ lead to 35-27 on two free throws with 48 seconds remaining.
Radford did not come closer than six points the rest of the way. The Hokies used an 8-0 run late in the game – two Hunter Cattoor 3-pointers sandwiched around a Wabissa Bede jumper – to extend the lead to 69-52 with 6:22 left. That represented the largest lead of the game.
Cattoor heated up in the second half, hitting all four of his 3-pointers in the final 20 minutes and finished with 12 points.
Aluma, making his first appearance after sitting out last season following his transfer from Wofford, dominated Radford in the post. He hit 7 of 10 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, and he grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots.
The Hokies made 15 of their 26 shots in the second half (57.7%) and shot 48.3% from the floor for the game. They hit 11 of their 26 3-point attempts.
Josiah Jeffers and Dravon Mangum led Radford with 12 points each.
• Tech played 11 players – 10 in the first half.
• Tyrece Radford tied a career high with five assists.
• Cattoor’s four 3-pointers were one short of his career high (5 vs. UMES last season).
• Alleyne scored in double figures for the 13th time in his career.
• Aluma’s seven field goals and 10 attempts were career highs.
• Joe Bamisile, a freshman, led the Hokies with seven rebounds.
The Hokies return to action Saturday when they play Temple at the Air Force Reserve Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament being held in Uncasville, Connecticut. The game is slated to tip off at 8 p.m. and can be watched on ESPNEWS.