BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP)—Malcolm Delaney wasn’t giving No. 21 Virginia Tech too solid a review of its season opener.
Delaney scored 20 points to lead the Hokies to a 70-60 victory over Campbell on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Delaney, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer last season at better than 20 points per game, made just 3 of 9 from the field, but hit all 11 of his free throw attempts.
“I don’t think we’ve had a great opener since I’ve been here,” Delaney said. “But playing against their zone for 40 minutes, I thought we did OK. We’ve got to get more stops on defense. But for the most part, I thought we did a good job.”
Terrell Bell added a career-high 17 points for the Hokies, while Jeff Allen recorded his 28th career double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds.
The Hokies, who began the season ranked for the first time since 1995, led 24-22 after Campbell’s Lorne Merthie drained a 3-pointer with 5:17 left in the first half. But Delaney hit two free throws to start a 17-4 run to close the half and that allowed the Hokies to open a 41-26 lead.
Campbell cut the lead to seven points in the second half, but got no closer.
“We lost our composure there at the end of the first half,” Campbell coach Robbie Laing said. “But Virginia Tech had something to do with that. When we were fortunate to get them to miss, they’d get the rebound or a loose ball. It really got away from us there, and we just got annihilated on the glass.”
Campbell cut the lead to 52-45 on a basket by Eric Griffin with 11:18 remaining. But the Hokies scored the next 11 points—five by Delaney—to take a 16-point lead.
“I liked how we played from the 16-minute mark to the end of the first half,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We were unselfish. We defended the ball and really kept it in front of us.
“But I was very disappointed in the second half. Our commitment to defense was atrocious. We got lazy, we got out of our stance, and they were patient.”
Juanard Hartley led the Camels with 14 points.
The Hokies’ next game is Tuesday night at No. 3 Kansas State.
“They’re good,” Greenberg said of the Wildcats. “They defend every possession. They execute offensively, and they just crush the glass. They have bodies flying everywhere.”