Sophomore guard Djimon Henson poured in a season-high 17 points but Morehead State men's basketball again fell into a large early deficit and ended with a 96-63 setback at Virginia Tech Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.
Henson, who scored 12 this week at IUPUI, was 8-of-13 from the field and also added four assists for the Eagles (1-4). Virginia Tech (5-1), which leads the nation in field goal percentage, raced out to an 8-0 lead.
"For our young team, we just have to learn to come out with more of a sense of urgency," said head coach Preston Spadlin. "I really feel like in the second half we were much more aggressive, we started driving the ball more, we started setting screens and we got to the foul line more with our inside-out game. So, we did some encouraging things."
Morehead State trailed 51-23 at the half, but stayed with the Atlantic Coast Conference Hokies in the final 20 minutes, only trailing 45-40. The Eagles also shot 50 percent (16-of-32) in the second stanza.
"I told our guys that I didn't necessarily think they believed they could play with this team, until we started to in the second half. I believed it, and our staff believed it, but we have to have our players start believing they can play with anymore and come out ready to play like that every night," Spradlin added.
Junior guard Trell Thompson netted a season-best eight points off the bench. Junior guard A.J. Hicks and junior forward Cedric Wright added seven points apiece (for Wright a season-high), and Hicks secured six rebounds. The Eagles out-rebounded the Hokies 33-31.
"That is a positive stat," Spradlin said. "We have a tradition of great rebounding teams here, and we are starting to become a better team on the glass."
Virginia Tech finished at 57 percent (31-of-54) for the game with four players in double figures. The hosts also nailed 10 three-pointers.
Morehead State will fly to Arkansas on Sunday where it will get ready to play at Central Arkansas on Monday night at 8 p.m. ET. The Eagles defeated the Bears 111-85 in Morehead last season and won 95-60 at UCA in 2014-15.