- Associated Press - Sunday, November 27, 2016

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Virginia Tech’s Zach LeDay started the second half with a thunderous one-handed dunk punctuated by a high-stepping celebration against Nebraska.

His teammates fed off that dunk and several other LeDay slams as he scored 19 points and added nine rebounds to lead Virginia Tech to a 66-53 victory over Nebraska in the third-place game of the Wooden Legacy on Sunday.

Virginia Tech (5-1) wowed offensively in the second half and made its final six free throws over the last 55 seconds to secure the win after trailing by eight points in the first half. The second half was all Hokies.

“Coach told us we were playing really good defense and that shots were going to fall,” LeDay said. “We couldn’t be offensive sensitive. We’re not built to be offensive sensitive. We’re built for games like that. It’s a fistfight. You’ve got to get rebounds and get in there. … We wanted to come out in the second half and punch them in the mouth and in the second half make all the little plays.”

Nebraska (4-2) didn’t have an answer for the Hokies inside. Guard Tai Webster led Nebraska with 23 points and added eight rebounds, but the rest of his teammates had 30 points combined.

LeDay, a senior forward, came off the bench and had his way inside. He was the focal point of the offense.

“I think it’s fun to watch. I think he plays with an edge,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said of LeDay. “One thing I would say that’s hard to quantify is that I think those guys care about one another. You can see as we were struggling in the first half that they were looking to throw the ball to Zach. That didn’t discontinue in the second half when we began to make more shots.”

Virginia Tech shot just 29.6 percent from the field in the first half but found its shooting rhythm in the second half, making 56.5 percent (13 of 23) of its shots.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech lost its first game of the season to Texas A&M; in the semifinals of the tournament but responded by beating the Cornhuskers and playing well with lead down the stretch.

Nebraska played well in the Wooden Legacy, even in an 82-71 loss to UCLA in the semifinals - its first loss of the season. The Cornhuskers return home having been battle tested against two solid teams and can learn much from film of those games.

QUOTE OF THE GAME

Most of the Nebraska players went to Disneyland on Saturday, which was an off day for the tournament. Coach Tim Miles was not among those at the happiest place on earth.

“I was mad about losing to UCLA, so I didn’t go,” Miles said. “My son came (back) and told me he went on a lot of attractions. I said I only went on two, my bed and the toilet.”

QUOTE OF THE GAME PART TWO

Virginia Tech had a difficult time in the offensive zone as it plodded along and missed 19 of 27 shots.

“Zach knows what it is because we’re from the same place. It’s like a tractor pull,” Williams said. “None of it’s fun. It’s just a bunch of country people on a Saturday night and that’s their entertainment. That’s what it looked like. We shot (29.6) percent. They shot (38.5) percent. That’s not fun as a fan. It’s not fun for anybody, I wouldn’t think.”

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech returns home for a brief stay, then is off to play at No. 25 Michigan on Wednesday. Home cooking is up after that, as the Hokies play six consecutive games at Cassell Coliseum and don’t play on the road again until 2017.

Nebraska travels to Clemson on Wednesday, followed by home games against South Dakota and a stiff test against No. 12 Creighton.

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