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Nolley, Hokies too much for USC Upstate in win

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Nolley, Hokies too much for USC Upstate in win

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Landers Nolley II scored 23 points to lift Virginia Tech to an 80-57 victory over USC Upstate on Wednesday.

Nolley connected on 8 of 14 from the floor to pace the Hokies (3-0), who shot 53.4% (31 of 58) and connected on 13 3-pointers. Jalen Cone added 11 points.

Nolley, a redshirt freshman, scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half. He now is averaging better than 21 points on the season.

"Your better players are going to get the majority of the shots," Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. "This isn't a democracy. This isn't we're all created equal. Those good ones, they love playing for me because we get them to where they want to be. . he's got a little more of a green light than the others. That's just the way it's going to be."

Everette Hammond led the Spartans (1-3) with 15 points.

Virginia Tech trailed early in the game, falling behind 16-11, but the Hokies' Nahiem Alleyne hit baskets on back-to-back possessions, including a 3-pointer, and he sparked a 20-4 run that gave Virginia Tech the lead for good.

Four different Hokies hit 3-pointers in that run. The Hokies shot 51.9% (14 of 27) in the first half and led 38-24 at halftime.

"Our defense is everything," Nolley said. "Our defense helps us go down to the other end and have good offense. So, we just feed off our defense, and that's what makes us run. That makes our team flow."

The Spartans, who missed all 15 of their 3-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, cut the lead to nine on two occasions in the second half -- the final time coming on two free throws by Hammond with 11:18 remaining. But the Hokies then went on a 10-0 run and ended any hopes of a comeback.

USC Upstate made just 3-of-25 3-point attempts.

"They made shots, and we didn't," USC Upstate coach Dave Dickerson said. "That's the bottom line. We were 3-for-25 from the 3-point line, and 23 of those were really, good shots that we've got to take, and we've got to be able to make. . they're a 3-point shooting team, and they made 13 tonight. We were not able to make any, and that was the difference in the game."

TIP-INS

USC Upstate: The Spartans, whose roster consists of 12 freshmen and sophomores, would do well to shoot fewer 3-pointers. They came into the game shooting 28.9% from beyond the arc and then missed their first 17 3-pointers against the Hokies. They'll need better shot selection if they want to improve on their six-win total from last year.

Virginia Tech: Cone, a freshman played his best game, coming off the bench to score 11 points hitting three 3-pointers. He and the Hokies' other freshman guard, Hunter Cattoor, combined for 20 points. Virginia Tech doesn't have a deep bench and will need to get more from both players going forward.

UP NEXT

USC Upstate: The Spartans returns to the court Monday at Akron.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at home against Lehigh on Saturday.

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Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

Four-star 2021 SF Benny Williams commits to Syracuse over Maryland and Georgetown

The Syracuse men's basketball program picked up its first commit of the 2021 class on Thursday and it came at the expense of the two big local schools. 

Four-star prospect Benny Williams committed to the Orange on Thursday, the small forward announced on Twitter. 247Sports was the first to break the news.

Williams, a consensus top 60 recruit in the 2021 class, chose Syracuse over Maryland, Georgetown and Miami. The small forward is ranked the 47th overall player in the 2021 class by 247Sports and 53rd by ESPN.

Missing on Williams is a crushing blow for the Terps, as the forward would have been the second four-star to commit to Maryland in the 2021 class, joining power forward Julian Reese. The Hoyas have yet to land a commitment for the 2021 recruiting cycle.

"I'm excited to play for coach [Jim] Boeheim in front of the best fans in the country in the greatest arena in college basketball," Williams said in his commitment video.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who plays his high school ball at St. Andrew's Episcopal in Potomac, Md., had taken two unofficial visits to Syracuse prior to committing, according to 247Sports. 

Syracuse's culture and the legacy of the basketball program were two things that specifically stood out to the junior when he visited the school.

"I picked them because of the relationship we built going back two years ago, especially coach Red [Autry] and with coach [Jim] Boeheim," Williams told 247Sports. "I think I can come in and impact the program right away and hopefully lead them to a national championship."

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The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

The 7 best point guards in Maryland basketball history

Maryland basketball is no stranger to success at the point guard position. Throughout the history of the program, numerous primary ball handlers have put up big scoring totals, created highlight plays and led their team to greatness.

But for a program loaded with point guard talent, who are the best of the best? Here's a look at a few of top point guards to ever be a Terp.

Gene Shue (1951-54)

Shue ranks No. 22 on Maryland's all-time scoring list, and while he put up some impressive numbers during his time there, his most impressive work was how he put the program on the map. Before Shue took his spot at UMD, the team had suffered losing season after losing season. That all changed when the point guard arrived.

During his playing career, the Terps achieved their first 20-win season in program history, were nationally ranked and joined the ACC Conference. Thanks in large part to Shue, Maryland basketball began the journey toward national prominence. 

John Lucas (1972-76)

Earning All-American honors once is an impressive feat for most college players, Lucas did it three times during his career at Maryland. The point guard earned second-team honors for the 1973-74 season while playing alongside Tom McMillen and Len Elmore. The latter two would graduate leaving Lucas to shine on his own in the following year.

He did just that, earning First-Team All-American honors for the 1974-75 season. Lucas would do the same in 1975-76 for good measure. During that time he also led Maryland to an ACC regular-season title and an Elite Eight appearance.

Lucas currently ranks No. 6 all-time in scoring at Maryland with 2,015 points. He also ranks No. 4 in scoring average, totaling around 18.3 points per game during his career as a Terp. Lucas wasn't just a scorer, as he also could pass with the best of them as a point guard. His 514 assists in college put him fifth on Maryland's all-time list. Lucas would go on to have a solid NBA career as well after being selected No. 1 overall by the Rockets in the 1976 NBA Draft.

Keith Gatlin (1983-86, 1988)

Gatlin embodied the floor general spirit of a point guard during his time at Maryland. Though surpassed 1,000 points in college, his real brilliance was seen when he distributed the ball to others.

Len Bias and Adrian Branch ranked No. 3 and No. 5 on Maryland's scoring list, and that's largely due to Gatlin's ability to get them the ball and let them take over. Rather than force his own shots, Gatlin would find the open man and rack up assist totals. By the end of his Terrapin career, he had recorded 649 assists, good enough for third all-time in school history.

Steve Blake (1999-2003)

Blake, much like Gatlin, made his mark as a passer at Maryland. His 972 assists during his four-year college career are the highest mark in the history of the program and rank sixth all-time in NCAA basketball history.

Blake's brilliance was seen from day one, as he started from his freshman to senior year at Maryland. His ability to control the flow of the game was instrumental in the Terps 2002 National Championship run.

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10)

The roar at the Xfinity Center when Vasquez tells the crowd he has "Maryland Pride" is all you need to know about how great his collegiate career was. The point guard showed promise in his first two seasons but really stepped up his game during his junior and senior years.

In 2008-09, Vasquez led the Terrapins in almost every category on the stat sheet. The top spots for scoring, assists, rebounds, steals and minutes played all belonged to him. He followed that up with a senior year in which he scored close to 20 points per game and took home the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. Vasquez currently ranks second all-time in points at Maryland with 2,171. 

Melo Trimble (2014-17)

Trimble is one of the most recent guards to find success at Maryland. Bursting onto the scene as a freshman, Trimble averaged 16.2 points per game during his first season of college ball. His following two seasons were just as exciting, as Trimble became the go-to weapon for the Terps offense. Before it was all said and done, Trimble surpassed 1,600 points and 400 assists during his three years at Maryland.

Numbers were great, but it was Trimble's heroic moments in the final seconds that he'll always be remembered for. Last-second game-winning shots against Wisconsin and Michigan State showed that there was no moment too big for No. 2. 

Anthony Cowan Jr. (2016-20)

When Trimble left for the pros it became Cowan's time to shine at Maryland, and he did just that. After a solid freshman year, Cowan continued to grow and improve each time out on the court. From his sophomore to senior year Cowan averaged 15.8, 15.6 and 16.3 points, respectively. He now sits seventh all-time in scoring at the University of Maryland

Cowan's biggest strengths, however, were his consistency and clutch. Maryland's newest 'Iron Man,' the point guard started 130 consecutive games during his four years as a Terp. No matter what was going on, everyone could rely on Cowan to be there and ready to make an impact. 

Clutch-wise, Cowan had a knack for stepping up in the big moments, especially during his senior season. A lethal three-point shooter, his performance on the road against Michigan State this past season showed everything there is to know about the Maryland native. With the Terps trailing late, Cowan knocked down two huge threes from way beyond the arc to take the lead and ice the game.

Moments like that helped Cowan bring a Big Ten banner to College Park. 

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