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10 Obsevations: Virginia Tech vs NC State Recap

It took overtime, but the Hokies were able to win their first ACC game this year.

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

In an overtime thriller, the Hokies were able to emerge victorious in their first ACC matchup, beating NC State 73-68. It was a game chock-full of effort plays for Virginia Tech. Multiple and-1’s, tough finishes at the rim, big time clutch shots, and every single one of those plays was needed to win this one.

  1. The Hokies already have 50% of the ACC wins as they did in the entirety of last season. You could see the difference a year made for this team. They kept their composure despite being down 10 at the half, and came out with fire and intensity to fuel a 23-8 run to take the lead in the second. And they did it again it overtime, outscoring the Wolfpack 12-7 in the extra period. This win should be a huge confidence booster moving forward.
  2. After struggling against West Virginia turnover-wise, the Hokies played a very clean game. They turned it over just 4 times, which meant they got at least one shot each possession. Virginia Tech also did not let Anthony "Cat" Barber get loose in transition, where he can put up points in a hurry. Speaking of Barber…
  3. The Hokies shut down Barber for long stretches throughout the game. His final statline: 21 points on 33% shooting. Part of it was phenomenal on-ball defense by Devin Wilson and Seth Allen. The help defense also played a huge role in that. Barber had open lanes that closed very quickly resulting in multiple blocks and steals. The way you stop a guy like that is through team defense, and the Hokies showed they could do it today.
  4. The offense wasn’t great, but Seth Allen and Jalen Hudson were both good enough to compensate. Scoring 23 each, they combined for 46 of the Hokies’ 71 points. Hudson had a great second half, scoring primarily by attacking the teeth of the defense before fouling out in overtime. Meanwhile, Allen was the player he was at Maryland. He constantly found open teammates for good shots and was able to get to the bucket for big shots at crucial moments. Obviously, no shot was bigger than his triple to send the game into overtime. That’s the Seth Allen that needs to show up every night for the Hokies to have a chance in the ACC.
  5. NC State and Virginia Tech both shot the exact same percentage from the free throw line: 63.6%. However, in crunch time, the Hokies seemed to make their while the Wolfpack faltered. It’s nice to finally be on this side of the free throw battle.
  6. Kerry Blackshear Jr. may not have put up the most impressive stats. But six of his nine points came in overtime, including a nice dribble-drive floater. And in the second half, he had a remarkable and-1 on an offensive rebound. The freshman did a great job stepping up big when Shane Henry or LeDay needed a breather.
  7. NC State came into the game with one of the worst three point defenses in the country. However, the Hokies weren’t really able to take advantage of that, going 1/10 from downtown in the first. The Hokies went away from perimeter shooting in general after halftime and looked infinitely better. The identity of this team looks like it’ll be all about attacking the basket.
  8. In addition to the Hokies outstanding defense on Barber, they took away his supporting cast as well. Caleb Martin and Maverick Rowan came into the game shooting 34% from downtown. The Hokies were able to hold them to 18% from deep on 3-17 from shooting. Excellent gameplan and coaching by Buzz.
  9. Virginia Tech came into the game shooting 45% from the field and NC State was shooting at a 43% clip. Today, the Hokies shot 39% to the Wolfpack’s 32%. Got to love good old-fashioned, physical basketball.
  10. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech has to throw this game into the rear view as quickly as possible. Their next two games are against UVA and Duke, both top 15 opponents. The Hokies were close to upsetting both teams last year. With an improved squad, we’ll see how they do in 2016.