NCAA

Alleyne's 18 leads Virginia Tech past Coppin State 74-42

mikeyoung_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Alleyne's 18 leads Virginia Tech past Coppin State 74-42

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young had a logical reason for starting Nahiem Alleyne on Friday against Coppin State.

"I inserted him in the lineup because of his defense," Young said.

On Friday night, Alleyne's offense certainly stood out.

Alleyne got the start in his second collegiate game and scored 18 points to lead the Hokies to a 74-42 victory over the Eagles.

Coming off a 11-point outing off the bench in his collegiate debut Tuesday in a season-opening win at Clemson, the freshman hit 6 of 8 from the floor, including four 3-pointers. He led a balanced attack for the Hokies (2-0), who gave Young his first home victory as the Hokies' head coach.

Landers Nolley II scored 11 points for Virginia Tech, while Tyrece Radford added 10.

Alleyne hit his first two shots - a 3-pointer and a wing jumper - helping the Hokies blitz Coppin State (0-2) from the start. Tech built a 27-3 lead in the first 12:15 of the game, hitting four 3-pointers in the first three minutes.

"He's a great player," Tech point guard Wabissa Bede said of Alleyne. "He's confident, and we're feeding it to him. I'm telling him he's great for a reason. I keep putting that in his head and now he's starting to believe it. He's showing it now, and I'm so happy for him."

"We thought, as a staff, he was the best we had on the floor in terms of being responsible on Tuesday," Young said. "I inserted Nahiem in there, and he responded. His defense was again very, very good. He's where he's supposed to be and doing a great job. And getting four 3's down was a joy to see."

The Hokies came out with energy on the defensive end as well, forcing Coppin State into a miserable shooting first half. The Eagles made just one of their first 20 shots and missed 17 straight at one stretch. They finished with only four made field goals in the first half.

They weren't much better in the second half, hitting just 10 shots. The Eagles shot just 19.7 percent (14 of 71), and they turned it over 16 times.

"We didn't see the jersey as Coppin State," Bede said. "We just saw five dudes out there. We didn't try to judge anybody. We knew they were a great team. We knew they were a high-level team that could shoot the 3 very well . They could come in here and make 20 3's. You never know guys. They're a team that's going to shoot 40 3's. We came at them with high hands and made them take contested shots."

Andrew Robinson led Coppin State with 15 points.

TIP-INS

Coppin State: Picked to finish seventh in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll, the Eagles need to find an identity on offense if they want to enjoy any success this season. Better shot selection going forward would help, particularly as they get ready to play 12 of their next 13 games on the road.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies weren't expected to be as good of a 3-point shooting team as last year's squad that averaged 9.3 3-pointers per game, but Tech has hit at least nine 3-pointers in its first two games. They finished with 11 3's against Coppin State, with six different players hitting at least one.

YOUNG WINS HOME DEBUT

Young was hired in the spring to replace Buzz Williams, who left for Texas A&M, as the Hokies' head coach, and the move enabled Young, who had served as Wofford's head coach for the past 17 seasons, to return to his roots. He grew up in Radford, Virginia -- a roughly 15-minute drive from Virginia Tech's campus -- and often came to Cassell Coliseum as a kid to watch games.

Tuesday night, he won his 300th game as a head coach. But Friday night's victory meant a little more.

"It was great," Young said "I walk through that building in the summer and think about coaching the Virginia Tech basketball team, and for that to come true in here, that was great. I've told you, I can't express how happy I am to have the opportunity. It's awesome."

UP NEXT

Coppin State: The Eagles play at Loyola University Chicago on Tuesday.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at home against USC Upstate on Wednesday.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

No spring football games, no practices, no recruiting visits, and believe it or not, less time in the day.  

That is the current reality for Maryland’s head football coach, Mike Locksley. Not the easiest of circumstances to try and run a rebuilding football program in the Big 10. 
 
“Man, it’s been tough. I usually get up and get a little work out in. I’ve got an in-home gym where I can just do something to get moving,” Locksley said. “I’m kind of like a kid where if I get off schedule, I’m not very good… I get up, I get dressed. I don’t play around in my pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt.” 

Technically, the team has been on spring break this week, so there would have been no meetings in this first full week of quarantine.  But the staff has been busier than ever preparing for what life will look like when online classes begin on Monday. That is when the coaching staff will try to create some form of normalcy for their players.   

“We get eight hours a week to virtually meet with our players, so we’re working hard on developing the football intelligence that it takes using all the technology we have,” Locksley said.  

In normal times, only two hours a week would be allowed for film work or walkthroughs. The other six would be focused on strength training. These are far from normal times so this is where accountability comes into play. What they do now will pay off during the Big 10 season in the fall.   

“I think this is where you’ll see the biggest strides in the game for our programs, what these guys do when nobody is around and nobody is watching them,” Locksley said. “We always talk about being the best version of yourself and this gives our players the opportunity to do that without coaches there.”  

But it certainly makes it challenging to evaluate and develop players on a team that has much to improve upon finishing last season 3-9.  All 15 spring practices have been canceled, but Locksley says the Terrapins are focused on finding solutions for when the team is allowed back together, not excuses.  

“There’s no substitute for being able to go out and practice and if we can’t physically develop them, we need to mentally develop them,” Locksley said. “A lot of football success is about making the right decisions. That’s where teaching, the installs, and the mental conditioning will help develop our team.”  

So how do you get everyone in alignment during a time of pandemic?  First off, by staying up to date as best you can while staying home.   

“It makes you have to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Locksley said with a chuckle. “I had never heard of a Zoom meeting until about a week ago.” 

Few of us had! Of course we’re all well aware now. Working from home has become the new norm and that was the way this interview was conducted. And it will play an even bigger role as Locksley and his staff look to continue the recruiting process for the class of 2021.   

Fortunately, most recruits had already visited campus before school was shut down, but coaches are now using FaceTime, making countless phone calls, and using social media to connect with prospective future Terps. The coaching staff meets via video conference every day at 10:30 a.m., position coaches check in with their players daily and the staff reconvenes in the afternoon for updates.  

It’s a time none of us could have expected and no one can predict when it will end. But there’s still work to be done.   

“It’s about finding ways to improve yourself, not use this as an excuse for what’s to come,” Locksley said. “I think the strides we make now will determine what happens in the fall - if we are able to play football.” 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS: 

DMV native Jeff Green 'feels bad' for players unable to shine in 2020 NCAA tournament

DMV native Jeff Green 'feels bad' for players unable to shine in 2020 NCAA tournament

The NBA and NHL were suspended mid-season, Major League Baseball's start is postponed and among several more cancellations and suspensions in the sports world is the NCAA tournament. 

The NCAA canceled their national tournament nearly two weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, taking away 67 games of March Madness action. 

In those 67 games are typically countless opportunities for the nation's top players to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Not only that, but mid-major stars who are rarely heard of throughout the season have a chance to vault themselves into national stardom. 

Those are the players, Houston Rockets forward and Cheverly, MD native Jeff Green feels for the most. 

"I feel bad for the kids," Green said to Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast. "The kids that shine through this tournament that have never been acknowledged through their career. There's always a handful of kids that stick out like, 'Oh man, I've never watched him play.'

"I look at CJ McCollum, who made his name at the tournament," he said. "It's kids like that I wish had the opportunity because this is what they live for."

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

McCollum was a superstar at Lehigh, a small program in Pennsylvania, but he truly made a name for himself by scoring 26 points as a freshman against Kansas in the 2010 tournament. 

Players like McCollum, as well as seniors like Maryland's Anthony Cowan Jr. and breakout stars such as Obi Toppin won't be able to show the world how good they are.

The impact on the 2020 NBA Daft remains to be seen. It's unclear how much weight scouts put into the tournament versus their own private workouts and combine interviews, but how many players will teams miss out on without the benefit of a tournament consisting of so many high-pressure scenarios?

Again, it remains to be seen, and that's Green's point. Those unknown mid-major starts will be challenged to get noticed before the draft. 

"It sucks because now [the players] don't know what to do because the opportunity is gone," he said. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NCAA NEWS: