BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Malcolm Delaney scored 17 points and Virginia Tech pulled away in the second half and beat USC-Upstate 64-53 Thursday, the Hokies' fourth straight victory.
Jeff Allen added 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Hokies (8-4), playing their second game since losing two more players for the season because of injuries. The Hokies announced on Dec. 23 that No. 2 scorer Dorenzo Hudson and reserve big man Cadarian Raines would miss the rest of the season, joining forwards Allan Chaney and JT Thompson on the sidelines.Torrey Craig scored 12 to lead the Spartans (2-10). USC-Upstate led for most of the first half after a 20-7 run gave them a 20-14 lead, but the Hokies pulled even on Erick Green's layup with 2:17 left before halftime and never trailed again. Green scored 12 for Virginia Tech.The Hokies led 34-29 at halftime and by at least five throughout the second half.Playing short-handed, the Hokies got scoring from just seven players, but cranked up their defense against the Spartans, and converted 18 turnovers into 24 points. USC-Upstate, by contrast, forced only nine turnovers by Virginia Tech and turned them into just three points.Craig's jumper capped a 6-0 burst that pulled the Spartans to within five, 47-42, with 10:51 remaining, but Delaney made a layup, Allen hit a pair of free throws and Terrell Bell made a jumper, rebuilding the margin to 11, and it only dipped into single digits one more time.The Hokies finish the nonconference schedule on Jan. 2 against Mount St. Mary's, then head into Atlantic Coast Conference play. They were picked to finish second in the preseason, but that was before their frontline was decimated by injuries and illness.