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When Hokies Needed Points, Alleyne Stepped Up Big Time

When Tyrece Radford found himself sidelined with legal troubles earlier this season, I wrote about how Virginia Tech needed Nahiem Alleyne to step up and become the Hokies’ primary offensive threat from the wing.

Alleyne’s next few performances were a mixed bag, mostly filled with inefficient shooting performances. Even in Radford’s first game back against Georgia Tech, Alleyne shot 3-of-12. At that point, I was ready to write off Alleyne as a future scoring machine.

He sure showed me on Friday.

With his team on the ropes and wobbling from extended usage, Alleyne put Virginia Tech on his back. The sophomore guard scored Virginia Tech’s final 12 points in regulation, including a stone-cold three-pointer with one second remaining to send the Hokies into overtime with Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

I know you’ve seen the shot already, but watch it again.

Unfortunately, this will be one of the few lasting good memories Virginia Tech will take away from Mike Young’s first NCAA Tournament as the head whistle in Blacksburg. Tech fell 75-70 after leading by as much as 8 points in the second half, ending their season.

It’s been a successful season, no doubt. The Hokies defied expectations and instead of succumbing to the pandemic and obstacles that it created, they thrived in it. Young deserves a lot of credit for leading his players this far, and his players deserve an equal amount of credit for putting in the work in an unprecedented season.

People are already moving on to the future of the program, which is to be expected after a loss like that. Thankfully, the future looks kind of great.

Wabissa Bede is the only player expected not to return for next season, though he could still come back after the NCAA granted all players an extra year of eligibility this season. The core group — Tyrece Radford, Keve Aluma, Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor — are all coming back. So should Tech’s younger players — Joe Bamisile and Darius Maddox.

Oh, and Alleyne should be back too. Which should be a lot of fun.

We know the talent is there. Alleyne finished in double figures in his last six games of the season, capping it off with 28 points against Florida. Alleyne dictated to the Gators how the game was going to go down the stretch and though he was a bit average from the field, Alleyne got to the free throw line consistently and knocked down four threes.

He can score. He can score in bunches. And the Hokies will need that next season. Imagine a starting backcourt with Alleyne, Radford and new transfer guard Storm Murphy, who averaged 17.8 points per game this season while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 40 percent from behind the arc.

The possibilities are endless.

So lick your wounds, Hokie fans. The program will move forward and with so many key players from this season’s roster returning, it’s hard to not see this team take another step forward next season. 

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Friday, 12 August 2022

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