By JIMMY ROBERTSON
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored a career-high 31 points to lift Virginia Tech to an 81-67 victory over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Blackshear made 12 of 16 from the floor in helping the Hokies (12-4, 1-2 ACC) snap a two-game losing streak. Virginia Tech avoided a 0-3 start to league play for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
Pittsburgh (8-8, 0-3 ACC), which has lost three straight, trailed by 11 in the second half, but went on a 17-6 run, tying the game at 51 on two free throws by Jared Wilson-Frame with 12:37 remaining. The Hokies, though, scored the next six points, with Blackshear scoring four of them, and gradually pulled away.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker added the cause by converting three 3-point plays in the final six minutes and finished with 16 points for the Hokies, and Ahmed Hill had 15. Justin Robinson scored 11 points and dished out 10 assists.
Wilson-Frame led the Panthers, tying his career high with 20 points. He and Parker Stewart each made four of Pittsburgh's 12 3-pointers, but the Panthers' 17 turnovers led to 22 Virginia Tech points.
Pittsburgh: For the second straight game, Panthers head coach Kevin Stallings started five freshmen, and Pittsburgh does have some intriguing pieces, especially Stewart (12 points) and Marcus Carr (14 points). But the Panthers sorely miss Ryan Luther, who was averaging a double-double before a foot injury sidelined him. He has missed the past six games.
Virginia Tech: Thanks to Blackshear's dominance inside, Virginia Tech shot better than 50 percent for the first time in four games. The Hokies, ranked second nationally in field-goal percentage, shot 52.6 percent (30 of 57) despite making just 4 of 23 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers play Duke on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies return to action Wednesday when they play a road game at Wake Forest.