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No. 15 Virginia Tech tops Gardner-Webb 87-59 in opener

November 10, 2018

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Nickeil Alexander-Walker and freshman Isaiah Wilkins scored 21 points apiece, and No. 15 Virginia Tech opened its season with an 87-59 win over Gardner-Webb on Friday night.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. added 14 points for the Hokies, who allowed Gardner-Webb to keep it close until after halftime.

Nate Johnson scored 17 points to lead the Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-2), who crept within four points less than five minutes into the second half. Virginia Tech responded with an 8-0 run and then pulled away.

Gardner-Webb shot 52 percent in the first half to Virginia Tech’s 40 percent but trailed 43-33 at the break, thanks in part to 14 turnovers that led to 12 points for the Hokies.

The Hokies had five players finish in double figures and totaled 16 steals in the second-ever meeting between the schools. Virginia Tech also won in 2008.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies were ranked in the AP preseason poll for the first time since 2010, and their preseason ranking was the highest in school history. Before the game, Virginia Tech unveiled a banner honoring its NCAA Tournament bid last season. Coach Buzz Williams’ team reached the tournament in back-to-back years for the first time since 1985-86.

Gardner-Webb: The Big South school will face two other Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest, during a 12-day stretch next month. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were picked sixth in the preseason Big South poll.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Faces Ball State on Thursday in the Charleston Classic. The Hokies won’t play at home again until Nov. 24 against St. Francis (Pennsylvania).

Gardner-Webb: At Furman on Tuesday.

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