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No. 16 Virginia Tech powers into Charleston finals

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) No. 16 Virginia Tech accomplished something it hadn't in coach Buzz Williams' five seasons - reaching an in-season tournament championship game.

If the Hokies are as locked-in defensively Sunday as in beating Northeastern 88-60 at the Charleston Classic on Friday, they could also leave with Williams' first tournament title.

''None of us here have been able to do it, so this means a lot,'' said Hokies guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who scored 20 points.

They will face No. 23 Purdue or Davidson for the title Sunday night.

Northeastern will play the Boilermakers-Wildcats loser for third place.

Virginia Tech (3-0) took control for good with a 23-2 surge the last seven minutes of the opening half falling behind Northeastern (2-2) 24-23.

The Hokies turned up the pressure which got their offense going.

''It was a lot of fun,'' said Alexander-Walker, a sophomore who's scored 20 or more points in every game this season.

It was certainly impressive to watch.

Ahmed Hill began the charge with a 3-pointer, then closed it with an even longer three that swished through at the halftime buzzer.

It was the second straight game the Hokies closed the first half strongly - and capped it with a long buzzer-beater.

On Thursday against Ball State, Virginia Tech broke a 24-all tie with a 19-5 charge the final seven minutes of the half. Justin Robinson hit a long three as his teammates headed into the locker room.

''I got excited,'' Williams said of Hill's three which caused him to break out in a brief dance.

Williams will be even more excited if the Hokies finish well Sunday. Before the tournament, he laid out his team's results in recent early season events - they were third the past two seasons, in 2016 at the Wooden Legacy and last year at the 2K Sports event.

Getting this far, Williams said ''is a great first experience.''

The trick now is managing the day off Saturday and the wait until Sunday night.

''The kids feel that, see that and hear that and their receptiveness to what we were able to do'' so far is ''very, very good.'' Williams said.

Alabama 79, Ball State 61

Tevin Mack scored 20 points off five 3-pointers and Alabama recovered strongly from its first loss of the season a day earlier with a 79-61 victory over Ball State.

The Crimson Tide (3-1) face either Appalachian State or Wichita State for fifth place Sunday.

Ball State (1-3) lost its second straight in the tournament will try to avoid going 0-for-Charleston against the Appalachian State-Wichita State loser.

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Key Players
N. Alexander-Walker
4 G
V. Pusica
4 G
37.0 Min. Per Game 37.0
20.0 Pts. Per Game 20.0
5.0 Ast. Per Game 5.0
3.0 Reb. Per Game 3.0
53.2 Field Goal % 40.0
37.5 Three Point % 60.0
100.0 Free Throw % 85.7
+ 2 Tomas Murphy made layup, assist by Myles Franklin 20.0
  Out of bounds turnover on Jonathan Kabongo 39.0
  Defensive rebound by Jonathan Kabongo 45.0
  Myles Franklin missed layup, blocked by Isaiah Wilkins 47.0
  Traveling violation turnover on P.J. Horne 1:01
+ 2 Tomas Murphy made floating jump shot 1:24
+ 2 Isaiah Wilkins made layup 1:47
  Lost ball turnover on Myles Franklin, stolen by Wabissa Bede 2:13
+ 3 Wabissa Bede made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ty Outlaw 2:37
  Defensive rebound by Jonathan Kabongo 2:55
  Jason Strong missed jump shot 2:57
Team Stats
Points 88 60
Field Goals 36-62 (58.1%) 20-46 (43.5%)
3-Pointers 14-27 (51.9%) 13-26 (50.0%)
Free Throws 2-4 (50.0%) 7-8 (87.5%)
Total Rebounds 29 24
Offensive 9 7
Defensive 18 17
Team 2 0
Assists 21 15
Steals 5 1
Blocks 4 2
Turnovers 9 16
Fouls 13 12
Technicals 0 0
20 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST
12T
away team logo 16 Virginia Tech 3-0 464288
home team logo Northeastern 2-2 263460
Team Stats
away team logo 16 Virginia Tech 3-0 73.6 PPG 35.4 RPG 15.1 APG
home team logo Northeastern 2-2 75.4 PPG 33.6 RPG 14.1 APG
Key Players
4
N. Alexander-Walker G 16.4 PPG 4.2 RPG 3.9 APG 47.8 FG%
33
T. Murphy F 8.1 PPG 3.4 RPG 0.9 APG 53.5 FG%
Top Scorers
N. Alexander-Walker G 20 PTS 4 REB 7 AST
T. Murphy F 11 PTS 0 REB 0 AST
58.1 FG% 43.5
51.9 3PT FG% 50.0
50.0 FT% 87.5
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Alexander-Walker 20 4 7 8/17 3/7 1/1 3 32 4 1 0 0 4
J. Robinson 19 1 4 8/10 3/4 0/0 0 29 0 0 2 1 0
A. Hill 15 3 0 6/10 3/4 0/0 1 33 0 0 1 1 2
K. Blackshear Jr. 12 3 4 6/9 0/2 0/1 3 21 0 1 2 1 2
W. Bede 8 3 3 3/4 2/2 0/0 1 29 1 0 0 0 3
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
N. Alexander-Walker 20 4 7 8/17 3/7 1/1 3 32 4 1 0 0 4
J. Robinson 19 1 4 8/10 3/4 0/0 0 29 0 0 2 1 0
A. Hill 15 3 0 6/10 3/4 0/0 1 33 0 0 1 1 2
K. Blackshear Jr. 12 3 4 6/9 0/2 0/1 3 21 0 1 2 1 2
W. Bede 8 3 3 3/4 2/2 0/0 1 29 1 0 0 0 3
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Outlaw 6 7 2 2/5 2/5 0/0 3 22 0 0 2 3 4
I. Wilkins 5 1 1 2/4 1/2 0/0 1 14 0 2 0 1 0
P. Horne 3 3 0 1/3 0/1 1/2 1 16 0 0 1 2 1
J. Kabongo 0 2 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 3 0 0 1 0 2
B. Palmer 0 0 0 0/0 0/0 0/0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
C. Clarke - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Nolley II - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Radford - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 88 27 21 36/62 14/27 2/4 13 200 5 4 9 9 18
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Murphy 11 0 0 5/6 1/2 0/0 1 22 0 0 2 0 0
B. Brace 9 5 3 3/4 3/4 0/0 1 23 0 0 2 0 5
V. Pusica 8 3 4 2/10 2/6 2/2 1 28 0 0 3 1 2
D. Gresham Jr. 6 3 5 2/4 2/4 0/0 1 26 0 0 3 0 3
A. Green 4 6 0 2/4 0/0 0/0 1 17 0 2 0 2 4
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
T. Murphy 11 0 0 5/6 1/2 0/0 1 22 0 0 2 0 0
B. Brace 9 5 3 3/4 3/4 0/0 1 23 0 0 2 0 5
V. Pusica 8 3 4 2/10 2/6 2/2 1 28 0 0 3 1 2
D. Gresham Jr. 6 3 5 2/4 2/4 0/0 1 26 0 0 3 0 3
A. Green 4 6 0 2/4 0/0 0/0 1 17 0 2 0 2 4
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB
J. Roland 10 1 1 3/5 3/4 1/1 2 28 1 0 1 1 0
J. Strong 5 2 0 2/3 1/1 0/0 0 12 0 0 0 2 0
S. Walters 4 1 1 0/4 0/2 4/4 1 19 0 0 1 0 1
M. Franklin 3 2 1 1/5 1/2 0/1 2 13 0 0 3 1 1
J. Miller 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 1 12 0 0 1 0 1
M. Boursiquot - - - - - - - - - - - - -
S. Occeus - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Eboigbodin - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 60 24 15 20/46 13/26 7/8 12 200 1 2 16 7 17