NCAA

Defense travels in unbelievable performance for Hokies over ranked NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

Defense travels in unbelievable performance for Hokies over ranked NC State

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Kerry Blackshear had 13 points and 13 rebounds Saturday to help No. 12 Virginia Tech beat No. 23 North Carolina State 47-24 in the Wolfpack's lowest-scoring output of the shot-clock era.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 11 points for the Hokies (18-3, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led the entire way despite playing without point guard Justin Robinson. Virginia Tech didn't put up huge numbers, shooting just 36 percent and making 7 of 21 3-pointers.

Then again, Virginia Tech didn't need much production against the cold-cold-cold-shooting Wolfpack (16-6, 4-5).

N.C. State made just 9 of 54 shots for the game, a conversion rate of 16.7 percent that included a 2-for-28 showing from 3-point range. It was N.C. State's lowest scoring output in any game since managing 12 points in a win against Duke in the 1968 ACC Tournament, nearly two decades before the implementation of the shot clock.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies' already-limited numbers were further depleted by Robinson's absence. The senior came in averaging 14.4 points but left early from Wednesday's win at Miami with an injury, then showed up in Raleigh sporting protective boot on his left foot. But Blackshear led the way, while the Hokies got some balance — even of the low-scoring variety — from Wabissa Bede (nine points) and Ahmed Hill (nine points) against the inept Wolfpack.

N.C. State: Kevin Keatts' team never gave itself a chance Saturday with its complete inability to accomplish the most basic element in the game — putting the ball in the basket. N.C. State made 1 of 17 shots to start the game and its first 11 3-point tries in a performance that stupefied its normally rowdy home crowd. Underling all that trouble was sophomore guard Braxton Beverly. A week to the day after hitting the buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Clemson on this court, he went 0 for 12 overall and 0 for 9 from behind the arc.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: The Hokies host No. 15 Louisville on Tuesday night.

N.C. State: A demanding three-game stretch ends Tuesday at No. 9 North Carolina.

VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

In this time of mass quarantining, live sports have come to a standstill across the country, but that hasn’t stopped college basketball’s offseason from churning along.

Players across the nation are deciding where they want to play next season, and the latest impactful player to take a step toward next year is VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva.

The junior forward announced on his Instagram his intentions to enter the 2020 NBA Draft.

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It’s not yet clear how limited the NBA’s draft preparation will be as a result of COVID-19, but Santos-Silva does mention in his announcement that he will be maintaining his college eligibility in case he decides to return for his senior season.

Santos-Silva came off the bench his freshman season, but has started all 64 games in the last two years for VCU. As a junior, he averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 27.2 minutes.

He does all of his damage close to the rim, as he has yet to attempt a three-point shot in his college career.

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How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

Starting any new job can be stressful, but starting it under a COVID-19 outbreak? A whirlwind.  

That’s exactly how Howard University’s new head football coach, Larry Scott, describes it.  

“You take the job beginning of February and ask yourself, what all has to be done?” Scott said. “And you go, ‘Everything.’”   

And yet you can’t do anything outside of your home. 

Scott is challenged with trying to change the culture of a team that finished the 2019 season 2-10, seventh in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He’s had to evaluate his roster, hire a new coaching staff, and hopefully bring in the right recruits.  Seems impossible, but Scott sees it completely the opposite.  

“It’s all about people, it’s all about building a strong connection within a team,” Scott said.  “Thank god I had some really good strong relationships with some coaches that I have worked with and admired from afar."

Scott coached under Dan Mullen at the University of Florida and Butch Jones at the University of Tennessee, learning leadership skills he has relied upon while installing his own system at Howard -- especially during this trying time.   

“It actually plays well into the whole concept -- football is still about people and how you make them feel,” Scott said. “Trust factors are built though connections.” 

Howard’s football team holds position meetings two times a week, staff meetings once a week, and uses Zoom to communicate with players daily.  Scott held his first full team meeting on Monday using Microsoft Teams while his strength and conditioning coach sends out daily workouts via Twitter challenging players to find creative ways to stay in football shape.  

Full-body workouts can be better than weights. Packing a book bag or finding water bottles can substitute creativity when the normal tools are not available. It’s about taking ownership of your body, when no one is telling you what time to be in the gym or standing over you counting reps.   

But all that is expected for a football team. Scott is also holding meetings that involve the full academic staff.  

“We have a plan for how we’re attacking academics and our online classes,” Scott said.  

A big part of that are talks on shifting the grade system to pass-fail concepts and where to accept letter grades. Scott wants his players to keep their scholarships and stay eligible. If they don’t keep their studies up, all the training in the world won’t matter. There is no football. Not even when football returns.   

For Scott, the cool thing about communicating all this to young men, is just that. They’re young. The virtual world is more their reality than any previous generation. They order all their food through Uber Eats. They have endless apps on their phones. They can adapt because technology lets them. And in so doing they help their coach adapt, too, during tough times. Together, when they finally return to the field, Scott believes they’ll all have a deeper appreciation for college football. 

“It’s kind of fun entering into their world into how they see things and view things and being able to still reach them and relate to them and teach them on a level that is expanding our mind,” Scott said. “It’s still about seeing young people find ways to have success, create avenues of opportunity.”   

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