"We're just happy to be playing," Malcolm Delaney said. "We weren't predicted to be in the NCAA Tournament anyway, so when we didn't get picked, we didn't hang our heads down. We don't have to worry about all those questions about the NCAA now, so it's like a new start for us. We've got the NIT now and I think we can win it. We've just got to continue playing hard." (What he meant: Jerks, rat bastards, a-holes, we’ll show them.)
A.D. Vassallo made 11 of 14 field goal tries and scored 27 points in 25 minutes Wednesday night as sharp-shooting Virginia Tech made easy work of Morgan State (Bears, 6,064 students, Baltimore, MD), 94-62, in the first round of the NIT.
The Hokies (20-13) showed no letdown after being snubbed by the suits from Kansas City. They led 40-25 at halftime and shot better than 65 percent for the game.
Morgan State (22-11) trailed 21-18 before the Hokies went on a 19-7 run to close the first half. Vassallo had nine points in the burst.
Virginia Tech led by no fewer than 13 throughout the second half and advanced to a meeting with UAB in the second round. The Blazers (23-10) won 80-77 at VCU.
Deron Washington, the Hokies' only senior, added 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists, Malcolm Delaney scored 13 and Jeff Allen had 10. The Hokies starters were a combined 24-for-34 from the field and the team finished 34-for-52 (65.4 percent).
Virginia Tech's A.D. Vassallo (40) shoots over Morgan State's defense during the first half of an NIT first-round game. (AP photo / Baltimore Sun)