Jalen Cone scored 18 points off the bench to lead No. 24 Virginia Tech over Longwood 84-58 on Monday night.
Cone shot 6 of 15 from the floor – all 3-pointers – for the Hokies (7-1), who struggled for 30 minutes but heated up down the stretch to win their third consecutive game. Keve Aluma added 14 points and Joe Bamisile finished with 11, leading a balanced Virginia Tech offense as 10 players scored.
Leslie Nkereuwem paced Longwood (1-7) with 10 points.
The Lancers trailed 45-40 after a basket by Juan Munoz with 11:39 remaining. The Hokies, though, scored on their next 13 possessions to pull away, with Cone hitting three of Virginia Tech’s five 3-pointers in that span.
The Hokies shot 59% (19 of 32) and hit six 3s in the second half.
Longwood: Despite their record, the Lancers have been competitive with a young roster that includes three freshman starters and only one senior. They’ve lost three games by three points or less and easily could have a winning record. They might experience some growing pains once Big South Conference play begins, but they also have enough pieces to be a major headache for a lot of teams.
Virginia Tech: After missing the Hokies’ first four games with an injury, Cone is starting to find his rhythm. A noted 3-point shooter – he shot 45.7% from beyond the arc a season ago – Cone has hit 11 3s in the past two games and gives balance to a Virginia Tech team that has played extremely well heading into the holiday break.
Following three wins in a seven-day stretch and now heading into an eight-day layoff for the holidays, the Hokies should stay in the Top 25 rankings.
Longwood: The Lancers host UNC Ashville on Dec. 30.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host to Miami on Dec. 29.