Nolley made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points Saturday, leading Virginia Tech to a 79-53 victory against Lehigh.
“I’m one of the most impactful freshmen in the country,” he said, adding that being forced to sit out last season allowed him to get better. “I got more knowledgeable, skill. I got in better shape, my mind (got) better. It prepared me for the moments I’m in now.”
Nolley started slowly, “but in the second half I just started to let it come to me. I just started hitting shots and caught a streak and racked up some quick points.”
The Hokies’ 4-0 start in their first year under coach Mike Young is their second 4-0 start in as many years. It seemed fitting, too, that they honored former coach Charlie Moir with a moment of silence before the game. Moir, who died Friday, won a school-record 213 games at Tech from 1976-87, and was the coach in 1981 and 1982, the last time Virginia Tech began two seasons in a row by winning their first four games.
P.J. Horne added 14 points and Hunter Cattoor had 11 for the Hokies. Freshman Tyrece Radford added eight points and 11 rebounds.
Jeameril Wilson and Jordan Cohen each scored 11 for the Mountain Hawks (2-2). Lehigh trailed just 37-32 at halftime but managed just nine field goals and 21 points after the intermission.
Virginia Tech led 46-36 and used a 25-6 run to expand its lead to 71-42 with 5:50 remaining.
“We ended up turning the basketball over, which gave them easy opportunities and run-outs,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “The momentum of the gym and the game just kind of changed with our lack of execution and being sloppy with the ball.”
Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks committed 19 turnovers and Virginia Tech turned them into 26 points. Lehigh scored 16 points off the Hokies’ 10 turnovers.
“They did a very good job of collapsing on the ball,” Reed said. “A lot of times our ball-handler was under duress — led to a lot of turnovers for us. But we also had some unforced turnovers, which ultimately kind of led to them being able to stretch the game.”
Virginia Tech: The Hokies made a season-high 14 3-pointers and have made at least 10 in three of their four games this season. Nolley was 7 for 12 from beyond the arc and is 15 for 32 for the season.
Lehigh has a quick turnaround, playing Misericordia on Monday night at home.
The Hokies remain at home and play Delaware State on Wednesday night.