By Harry Allison
Izaiah Brockington had a career-high 24 points and visiting Penn State dominated for a 75-55 victory over No. 15 Virginia Tech in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Brockington hit 10 of 14 from the floor, including two 3-pointers for the Nittany Lions (3-1), whose 17-0 run early in the first half grabbed the lead and never trailed again.
Jalen Cone paced the Hokies (4-1) with 11 points. Virginia Tech, which shot just 37% (20 of 54), had won 34 straight non-conference games on its home floor.
Penn State played a near-flawless first half, shooting 18 of 35 from the field and forcing 10 turnovers while not committing a single one. Behind Brockington’s 15 points, the Nittany Lions led 42-23 at halftime even though leading scorer Seth Lundy did not score. Lundy, who was averaging 22.3 points per game coming in, went scoreless in the game.
“I thought we came out and showed who we can really be,” Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry said. “We put a 40-minute game together. We defended with discipline, we were connected the whole way, and it just leads to offensively just sharing the basketball and playing off each other.”
The Nittany Lions were nearly as good in the second half. They followed their six 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes with another half-dozen in the final 20. They ended any hopes of a Virginia Tech comeback early in the second half by making seven of their first nine shots, including four 3s. Myles Dread’s 3-pointer with 13:21 remaining gave Penn State a 63-34 lead – its largest of the game.
“They popped us right in the mouth, and we didn’t respond very well,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “And that’s a concern. We’ll get back after it (Wednesday) and figure some things out.”
Myreon Jones added 14 points for Penn State, and Dread finished with 11. The Nittany Lions shot a season-high 50% (30 of 60) and hit 12 3-pointers.