After extending its lead to double digits in the second half Wednesday, Virginia Tech did just enough in the final stretches to top Liberty at home, 73-63, in a game that makes up part of the USA-based schedule for the Cancun Challenge.
Joey van Zegeren had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Hokies (2-0), and three other starters closed in double figures as Virginia Tech shot a healthy 61 percent from the field. Liberty (2-1) was paced by Tomasz Gielo (13 points, three assists, three rebounds, and Ryan Kemrite had 11 points - the Flames were slowed by 21 turnovers and an inability to get to the free-throw line, with just 10 attempts.
The teams are coached by close friends - Liberty coach Dale Layer had Hokies coach Buzz Williams on his staff at Colorado State; Layer later coached on Williams' staff at Marquette.
When the Cancun Challenge makes it official start south of the border, Virginia Tech will play Northern Iowa; Liberty will take on North Florida. All teams will play two games in Mexico.