After a strong first half, the Hokies shot horribly at the free throw line and hit several scoring droughts late in a 61-58 loss to Penn State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Wednesday.
D.J. Newbill dropped 18 points and four rebounds to lead Penn State (7-1, 0-0) while Shep Garner chipped in 13. Forward Ross Travis finished with 10 rebounds.
Junior Joey van Zegeren had an outstanding first half for the Hokies (4-3, 0-0) scoring 14 points and pulling down seven rebounds, but picked up two fouls on questionable calls. He finished the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds but was 0-7 from the free throw line.
Freshman Justin Bibbs scored 16 points with five rebounds including yet another strong performance from three point range. Bibbs was 3-of-5 on the night making him 12-of-17 on the season, good for just over 70%.
The Hokies went on a four minute scoring drought to end the first half then saw several droughts in the second culminating with a 19-3 run without any Tech field goals. Buzz Williams' club hung tough though and continued to chip away at the lead late.
The Hokies had a chance to tie at the buzzer after a missed Penn State free throw with 4.1 seconds remaining, but Ahmed Hill's three-pointer hit the rim.
Tech was badly outrebounded yet again 47-38 and the Nittany Lions made 17-of-30 free throws (56.7%) while the Hokies were just 4-of-14 (28.6%).