- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia Tech came into its game with Arkansas-Pine Bluff ranked second nationally in free throws attempted.

The Hokies certainly added to their totals.

They made 31 of 40 from the free-throw line, and Jalen Hudson scored 15 points to lead the Hokies to an 80-45 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday.

Virginia Tech’s edge at the free-throw line helped on a day when it shot just 40.4 percent (21 of 52) from the floor. The Hokies (5-3) have shot at least 30 free throws in five of their eight games this season.

“I don’t think we’re very good offensively,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I think we’ll improve. I don’t know that we’ll necessarily be good, but we can overcome some of our deficiencies by getting fouled and getting second opportunities.”

Hudson hit 3 of 4 from the floor, including two 3-pointers, and 7 of 11 from the line for the Hokies, who had five players in double figures for the second time this season. Chris Clarke added 14 points, while Justin Bibbs and Zach LeDay chipped in 13. Seth Allen had 11.

Virginia Tech opened the game with a 23-2 run. Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s Ghiavonni Robinson scored on a layup with 17:43 left in the first half, but the Golden Lions then went nearly eight minutes without scoring, and the Hokies reeled off 18 straight points. UAPB went more than nine minutes without hitting a field goal from the floor.

Ten of the Hokies’ 18 points in that stretch came at the free-throw line.

“We have a lot of good drivers, a lot of athletic finishers, and they get fouled a lot when they go to the basket,” said LeDay, who hit 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. “We’ve got a lot of people who can shoot free throws. I think that could be something we could hang our hat on. I think that’s something we’re starting to get an identity for is getting to the line a lot.”

Neither team shot very well from the floor in the first half. The Hokies shot just 26.1 percent (6 of 23), while Arkansas-Pine Bluff shot 11.5 percent (3 of 26). But Virginia Tech took advantage at the free-throw line to lead by as many as 25, hitting 22 of 30 and grabbing a 37-16 lead. The two teams combined for 32 fouls and 45 free throws in the first 30 minutes. Overall, Arkansas-Pine Bluff made 11 of 17 from the free-throw line.

“We have millions of miles to go to get where we can have a chance to beat a team of equal or better talent, so the opponent today really wasn’t Pine Bluff - it was ourselves,” Williams said. “We’ve lost a game already at home to a team of lesser talent (Alabama State), and we have lost to a team at home of equal or better talent (Northwestern). We’ve done the same on the road.

“You have to utilize not just game day, but shoot-around on game day and film on game day and practices to grow up. We’ve got a lot of growing up to do, and I thought there was some of that displayed today.”

Jaquan Lynch led the Golden Lions (2-7) with 10 points. UAPB shot just 28.8 percent from the floor (15 of 52) and committed 21 turnovers.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The game marked the Hokies’ second of three games against SWAC opponents this season. …The Hokies moved to 3-1 all-time against teams from the SWAC. …Virginia Tech played without Johnny Hamilton, who has been suspended indefinitely for academic reasons. …Hudson started for the second time this season and the first time since the season opener. …LeDay registered his fifth double-double in eight games. The Hokies are 4-1 in games in which he records a double-double. …Allen scored in double figures for the fourth straight game.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff: The Golden Lions fell to 0-5 all-time against ACC teams. …The Golden Lions played 13 players in the first half because of foul trouble. …JoVaughn Love, the Golden Lions’ leading scorer coming in at 11.7 points, picked up four fouls, including a technical, within the first 10 minutes of the game and finished with just two points. …The Golden Lions played their ninth straight game away from home to open the season. They open the season with 18 straight on the road and do not play their home opener until Jan. 16. 

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech plays at Radford on Wednesday.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff plays at Iowa State on Dec. 13.

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