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November 22, 2004Virginia Tech jumped out to a 15-1 lead from the opening tip and never looked back, downing Loyola 81-58 in a non-conference game played in front of 8,772 fans at Cassell Coliseum in the season opener for both teams.
Tech won its season opener for the 12th time in its past 13 openers. The Hokies also won their 15th consecutive home-opening game.
Guards Jamon Gordon and Carlos Dixon spurred the opening run, with Gordon scoring four points and Dixon scoring seven. The Hokies led by as many as 18 in the first half before Loyola closed the half with a 17-7 run that cut the lead to 34-26 at halftime.
In the second half, Tech opened with an 11-2 run and Loyola never came closer than 13 points the rest of the game. The Hokies shot 57.6 percent in the final 20 minutes to put the game away.
"The first half, we didn't step into their zone," Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "We were just playing catch on the perimeter. You can't attack a zone when you do that. In the second half, we got into the interior and penetrated and took some good shots. That's why we shot 57 percent the second half.
"We've got some work ahead of us. We know what we've got to do. We've got to get better."
Dixon, a 6-foot-7 senior forward who redshirted last year while recovering from a broken bone in his foot, led the Hokies with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-19 from the floor. He hit three 3-pointers, and added five rebounds, an assist, two steals and a blocked shot in 30 minutes of action.
"It feels good," Dixon said of his return. "It feels good to get back out there and get into a rhythm. I was a little tentative in the first half, but Coach [Greenberg] brought me to the side at halftime and told me to penetrate their zone and take my shot. I thought I did that better in the second half."
The Hokies also got 20 points from Deron Washington. The 6-7 freshman hit 9-of-11 from the floor - with six dunks - and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line. He also dished out three assists and added three steals before fouling out.
Coleman Collins added 11 points, while Jamon Gordon finished with six points and a career-high nine assists. He also had seven steals for the Hokies.
Tech shot 50.7 percent from the field, forced 27 Loyola turnovers and held the Greyhounds to just 42 percent shooting from the floor. But the Hokies were outrebounded 36-34 for the game.
Next up for the Hokies is Maryland-Eastern Shore, which comes to Blacksburg next Tuesday night. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.