BLACKSBURG, Va. —
Virginia Tech’s Adam Smith may be his own toughest critic.
He topped his career high as a Virginia Tech player, shot better than 50 percent from the floor and filled in as a point guard for extended spells, dishing out five assists in the process.
Yet he still thought he played a better game against No. 1 Michigan State exactly one week ago.
“I really had it going that game,” he said of his 27-point effort against the Spartans. “But this was a solid game.”
That would be an understatement. Smith scored 28 points to carry the Hokies past Radford 81-56 on Friday.
Smith’s 28 points were his career high as a Virginia Tech player, topping the 27-point outburst against Michigan State. He scored 32 in a game while at UNC Wilmington as a freshman before transferring to Virginia Tech prior to last season.
Smith made 9 of 18 from the floor against Radford, including two 3-pointers, and shot 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. He had five assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes.
“He’s going to have those games,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “He’s getting better and better, especially with the ball in his hands. It was something he had to learn.
“He was counted on just as a scorer (at UNC Wilmington). Now he’s having to make decisions coming off ball screens - when to drive, when to kick, when to take his 3, when to use his middle game, all those things. I thought he took a step forward. He had big numbers, but I thought he took steps forward with his floor game.”
Smith scored 17 of his 28 points in the first half for the Hokies (5-3), who used an 18-0 first-half run to break open the game against Radford, whose campus is only 15 miles from Virginia Tech’s campus. Six different players scored in the run, and Jarell Eddie’s three-point play with 13:09 left in the half gave the Hokies a 23-5 lead.
The Hokies led by as many as 22 points in the half. Smith hit 7 of 12 from the floor and both of his free-throw attempts in the first 20 minutes. C.J. Barksdale added 10 points for the Hokies, who shot 58.1 percent from the floor (18 of 31) in the first half.
“It was huge,” Smith said of the run. “I feel like we took a lot of confidence away from them. We’re like a rival school (for Radford). They felt like they had a chance to beat us, but I think we kind of snatched that away from them early. We got a lot of stops, and we ran and converted. It was 23-5 in no time, so that was kind of tough for them.”
Radford (4-2), which made just four shots in the first 12:30 of the game, hit just 33.3 percent in the first half (10 of 30), including 1 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Highlanders cut the lead to 62-48 on a 3-pointer by R.J. Price with 10:17 left in the game. But the Hokies scored six straight points, the last two coming on a basket by Barksdale with 7:57 remaining that pushed the Hokies’ lead to 20. Virginia Tech wasn’t threatened again.
“Right from the beginning, we were not locked in defensively and we allowed them to get some looks, but it really started on the offensive end for us,” Radford coach Mike Jones said. “We took some quick shots and that fueled their offense. We allowed them to get out in transition and get some easier shots that we don’t normally give up.
“From there, they’re so talented offensively that it was tough to get them stopped. They had 48, 49 points in the first half, and our goal is to limit people to 32. Obviously, we were well beyond that, probably with 10 minutes to go in the first half.”
Barksdale had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double. Eddie added 13 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season and the sixth of his career.
Radford, which saw its four-game winning streak snapped, got 15 points from Javonte Green. The Highlanders shot 34.5 percent (20 of 58) and made just 4 of 22 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Radford has not beaten an ACC team in the program’s history (0-24).
The Hokies played without freshman guard Ben Emelogu, who sat out a second straight game with concussion-like symptoms. Emelogu is averaging 14 points per game.
Green 6-11 3-3 15, Noreen 1-1 0-0 2, Holcomb 0-2 1-2 1, Price 4-16 0-0 11, Anderson 2-8 1-1 6, Brown 2-3 3-5 7, Owens 0-1 0-0 0, Davis 3-6 2-4 8, Dickerson 2-5 0-0 4, Cousin 0-1 2-2 2, Dyer 0-2 0-2 0, Gonzalez 0-0 0-0 0, Carethers 0-2 0-0 0, Wells 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 12-19 56.
VIRGINIA TECH (5-3)
Van Zegeren 0-0 1-2 1, Eddie 5-14 1-1 13, Barksdale 5-10 4-4 14, Smith 9-18 8-10 28, Wilson 3-5 1-2 8, Donlon 1-1 0-0 2, Beyer 0-0 0-0 0, Johnston 1-2 1-2 4, Thompson 0-0 1-2 1, Wood 3-4 3-3 10. Totals 27-54 20-26 81.
Halftime—Virginia Tech 48-28. 3-Point Goals—Radford 4-22 (Price 3-10, Anderson 1-5, Cousin 0-1, Davis 0-1, Green 0-2, Dickerson 0-3), Virginia Tech 7-15 (Eddie 2-4, Smith 2-5, Johnston 1-1, Wilson 1-2, Wood 1-2, Barksdale 0-1). Fouled Out—Van Zegeren. Rebounds—Radford 29 (Dyer, Green 6), Virginia Tech 41 (Barksdale, Eddie 10). Assists—Radford 10 (Davis 3), Virginia Tech 13 (Smith 5). Total Fouls—Radford 23, Virginia Tech 19. A—5,217.