Penn State stops No. 15 Virginia Tech; win 75-55

The Penn State men’s basketball team (3-1) set the tone with an active defensive effort and a career performance offensively from guard Izaiah Brockington to down the No. 15 Virginia Tech Hokies 75-55 on Tuesday night. The Nittany Lions ended Virginia Tech’s 34-game non-conference home winning streak and dealt the Hokies (4-1) their first loss of the season. 

The Nittany Lions led the game for nearly 39 minutes, trailing only after the first basket of the game and the victory was milestone win number 1,500 for the program. The win was also Penn State’s third-straight in ACC/B1G Challenge games, sixth in its last seven appearances, and second over a ranked Virginia Tech team in the last three Challenge outings.

“(I’m) really proud of our guys to bounce back from such a tough loss the other day,” said interim head coach Jim Ferry. “We started the game very similar, and then being up eight with two minutes, to go to lose a game like that was really devastating, but our guys really handled it like a really mature team. We watched film and we got better and I thought we came out and showed who we can really be. We put a 40-minute game together. We defended with discipline and we were connected the whole way and it just leads to offensively just sharing the basketball and playing off each other. I’m really proud of these guys to come together like they did…against an excellent team, these guys are an excellent defensive team, they are disciplined, and extremely hard to guard. We just came out there and did it as a team together.”

Brockington’s efficient performance produced a career-best 24 points. The junior from Philadelphia started 7-8 from the field and finished 10-14 while tying his career-best total eight rebounds. Three other Nittany Lion junior guards had double-figures in scoring with Myreon Jones with 14, Myles Dread with 11 and Sam Sessoms with 10.

The stout Nittany Lion defense forced the Hokies to turn the ball over 14 times which led to 22 points for Penn State. Offensively, Penn State opened up the floor and drilled 12 treys, shooting a season-best 52.2 percent from behind the arc. Jones, Dread and Sessoms had nine triples combined.

Virginia Tech struck first with a triple just 30 seconds into the game, but Penn State hit back with a 17-0 run to take a lead it would never relinquish. Brockington scored nine points during the run that spanned six minutes and used both the dribble drive and a hot jump shot to lead the Nittany Lions with 15 points at the break.

An error-free first half and 51.4 percent shooting from the field for Penn State saw it lock in on the other end as PSU forced 10 first-half turnovers for a 42-23 advantage at the break.

Penn State came out of the locker room and went 7-9 from the field to start the second half and stretched its lead to 63-34 by the 13-minute mark.

Jalen Cone led the Hokies in scoring with 11 points and Keve Aluma had a game-high 12 rebounds.

Penn State opens its 29th Big Ten Conference season at Michigan at 2 p.m. Sunday in Ann Arbor.