CHARLESTON, S.C. - Behind three Hokies with 20-plus points, the No. 16/17 Virginia Tech men's basketball team defeated No. 23/22 Purdue 89-83 on Sunday night to claim the Charleston Classic title at TD Arena.
The Hokies (4-0) made some history on the campus of College of Charleston, taking down a ranked Big Ten team for the first time in school history and winning a nonconference tournament for the first time since 2008.
Sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who made the all-tournament team and earned MVP honors, stayed hot on the weekend and poured in a team-high 25 points, team-best seven rebounds and three assists in 40 minutes of action.
Senior Justin Robinson, who made the all-tournament team as well, and graduate student Ahmed Hill each had 23 points, marking the first time since Nov. 17, 2017, versus Washington that three Hokies owned 20 or more points in the same game.
Though they played well all weekend, the Hokies started the game down 12 points at the 7:07 mark, with the Boilermakers (4-1) Carsen Edwards scoring eight points in the early going to give Purdue a 34-22 advantage.
But Tech rallied and trimmed the deficit to five points after Robinson poured in eight of his own. However, Purdue got a bucket with 26 seconds left and Edwards hit a free throw with two ticks remaining, giving the Boilermakers an eight-point led at half, 44-36.
Tech began to start chipping away once the teams came back from the locker room, making it a one-possession game at the 15:04 mark after a triple by Hill. Three minutes later the Hokies gained the lead after a jumper from Hill and held off Purdue until the game was knotted at 69-all with a little over six minutes remaining.
The final six minutes were nerve-racking as no team gained a greater lead than a two-possession advantage, but Tech never let the Boilermakers take a lead again as Robinson and redshirt junior Kerry Blackshear Jr. made crucial buckets down the stretch to help the Hokies stay perfect on the year.
Edwards, a preseason All-American, paced Purdue with a game-high 26 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Tech improves to 3-1 all-time against the Boilermakers.