Because of dropped lines, a story in the final edition Saturday reported that Virginia Tech defeated unbeaten Indiana State 70-53, Friday night. Virginia Tech actually defeated Jacksonville, not top-ranked Indiana State. However, Virginia Tech and Indiana State do play today in the Midwest Regional in Lawrence, Kan.
Freshman whiz Dale Solomon scored 24 points, 18 in the second half, to lead Virginia Tech to a 70-53 victory over top-ranked and unbeaten Indiana State in the NCAA basketball tournament's Midwest Regional.
The 6-9 Solomon had only six points in the first half of the this first-round because Jacksonville's sagging zone defense denied him the ball. That and the absence of a fast break had the Gobblers down by 27-21 at intermission.
The second half was all theirs, however. The Gobblers pounded the boards and took off and ran while Solomon scored 11 of their first 22 points after halftime and they out-scored Jacksonville 24-8 to move to a 45-35 lead.
Solomon did most of his work under the basket. It was his layup that gave VPI a 33-31 lead early in the second half.
Steve Tutuson tied the score again at 33, but it was all Virginia Tech from there. First Solomon scored and was fouled by James Ray. His three-point play put the Gobblers on top, 36-33.
It was Ray's fourth foul, and Jacksonville Coach Tates Locke took him out, Jacksonville's chances of winning went to the bench with him.
VPI then began forcing the ball inside, down Jacksonville's throat. By the time Locke put his 6-foot-nine intimidator back in, the Dolphins were down by 10 and sinking fast.
While Jacksonville's zone kept VPI outside in the first half, the Gobblers shot a lowly 41 percent. In the second half, after they began to run and get the ball inside, they shot 68 percent -- 17 of 25.
Solomon made seven of eight shots in the half. His longest attempt was from five feet away.
Solomon, who was the Metro Conference tournament's most valuable player last week, admitted he was "sloppy" in the first half. "I just walked up and down the court. I was determined to do better the second half," he said.
"At halftime we said it was going to be an early trip home if we didn't start moving and getting after them," said Virginia Tech Coach Charles Moir. "That's about the worst first half we've had all year."
Forward Wayne Robinson, who led the Virginia Tech rebounders with nine, said, "It's obvious we just weren't ready to play.He (Moir) let us know we were playing like a bunch of dogs out there. Fortunatley for us, we listened to him.
Guard Marshall Ashford made seven of 10 shots and finished with 15 points for VPI.
Ray had 15 points and nine rebounds for Jacksonville before he out.
The victory, Virginia Tech's ninth straight, snapped Jacksonville's seven-game winning streak.
Weber State got four points from reserve guard Todd Harper in the overtime period to give the Wildcats an 81-78 victory over New Mexico State in the first game of the double-header.
That first-round victory sends Weber, champion of the Big Sky Conference, into the secon round against Southwest Conference co-champion Arkansas.
David Johnson led Weber with 19 points, including the last four of regulation to send the game into the overtime period.
New Mexico State, which was runner-up to Indiana State in the Missouri Valley Conference, was led by reserve guard Chuck Goslin's 23 points.
All eyes have now turned to Larry Bird and the Sycamores. The Gobblers' eyes started turning that way midway through the second half when their fans started chanting in unison, "Bring on the Bird, bring on the Bird."
He'll be there.