BLACKSBURG, Va. — Justin Bibbs got a little later start to his senior season than he wanted.
Rest assured, he’s making up for lost time.
In just his third game back following a two-game suspension to open the season, Bibbs scored 25 points to carry Virginia Tech to a 99-73 victory over Houston Baptist on Tuesday night.
The hot-shooting Bibbs connected on all seven of his first-half field-goal attempts and scored 16 points for the Hokies (4-1), who were actually in a battle for much of the first 20 minutes. But Bibbs hit 3-pointers to bookend a 10-2 run to end the half and give the Hokies a 44-38 halftime advantage — and the lead for good.
Bibbs hit 11 of 13 from the field overall, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. He’s now shooting 73 percent (27 of 37) from the field after sitting out the first two games for undisclosed reasons.
“I was extremely motivated,” Bibbs said. “It sucked being out, watching my guys play, missing the first home game. I’m just motivated. It lit a fire under me, I guess.”
Bibbs also got the Hokies going in the second half, hitting a short jumper to open the scoring. He punctuated his evening with a dunk with 7:20 remaining before being taken out with 6:25 left and the Hokies up 81-56.
Ahmed Hill added 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, as the Hokies shot 64 percent (32 of 50) from the field and hit 16 3’s — just a game after canning 15 in a victory over Washington on Friday.
“I like that we have a lot of weapons,” Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. “I don’t think we have, like, whatever the most powerful weapon is, but I think we have a lot of weapons that aren’t the most powerful, but if you can get the right grouping of weapons together, I really like them.”
Ian Dubose led HBU (1-4) with 15 points, while Josh Ibarra added 13. The Huskies shot just 39.4 percent (13 of 33) in the second half.
“Most of the time, you look out there, and we have three freshmen out there,” HBU head coach Ron Cottrell said. “They’re making differences in the game . They’re not going to back down from people. They’re going to come ready to play, and these are great experiences for them right now to lead us into conference play.
“I think we have a good complement of guys that are learning how to play together right now. I think, as we continue to go through the season, we’re going to develop into a team that can compete in our league.”
Houston Baptist: The Huskies, who lost five seniors off last season’s squad that finished 17-14 overall and 12-6 in the Southland Conference, are probably counting down the days toward the start of Southland action. They fell to 0-4 against Division I competition this season and still have road games against Oklahoma State, Michigan State and Vanderbilt before Christmas.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies continue to score at an unbelievable pace and are now averaging 103.2 points (third most in Division I) per game. They have scored at least 99 points in four of their five games this season, and five players now are averaging in double figures, led by Bibbs’ 23.3 points per game.
Virginia Tech point guard Wabissa Bede came off the bench to score 13 points in 11 minutes. He also made all six of his free-throw attempts despite coming into the game shooting 28 percent from the line. Before he took his first two of the game in the second half, he received a summons from Williams for a brief discussion.
“I call him over, and I said, ‘Hey man, you’re the worst free-throw shooter currently in Division I under 6-2. Do not miss,'” Williams said. “He doesn’t, and I respect that. I think his presence defensively maybe outweighs the timid-ness that’s in my soul when we’re on offense. I need to give him more reps.”
Houston Baptist: The Huskies continue their season when they travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma to take on Oklahoma State on Sunday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies return to action Saturday when they host Morehead State.