BLACKSBURG, VA., JAN. 5 -- Virginia Tech used a 27-4 run midway through the second half to take a 20-point lead over Memphis State, then kept up the pressure to defeat the Tigers, 81-66, in the Metro Conference opener for both teams.
"This was a very pleasing win for us," Virginia Tech Coach Frankie Allen said. "I think the key was that when Memphis State made a big run at us, we came back with a run of our own."
The Tigers' Elliot Perry, who scored a game-high 23 points, sank a three-pointer with 15:58 left to break a 42-42 tie. But the Hokies (7-3) ran off 12 straight points, with JuCo transfer Erik Wilson and John Rivers scoring four points each.
John McLaughlin ended the dry spell for the Tigers (6-6) with a jumper, but Tech responded with a 10-point run, seven of the points coming from 7-foot Wilson, who finished with 16 on seven-of-10 shooting.
Rivers, despite a sore left hand, had his sixth double-double of the season -- a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Memphis State shot only 33 percent, which several Tech players credited to their defense. However, Tigers Coach Larry Finch thought his team simply did not shoot well. "We came down and missed a ton of easy shots. We missed, then they came down and scored," he said. "Once we got down, there was no coming back."