The No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies suffered their first loss of the 2018-19 season on Tuesday, falling 63-62 to the Penn State Nittany Lions in the 2018 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The loss drops the Hokies to 5-1 on the season.
The Hokies had a six-point lead late in the game but couldn’t get key defensive stops, as Penn State freshman guard Myreon Jones connected on four of eight three-point attempts for the game and led the Lions with 18 points. Jones’ scoring outburst was troubling for the Hokies as as the guard had combined to score just 14 points in PSU’s first five games.
Tech got the ball back with 28.3 seconds as Justin Robinson gave the ball to Kerry Blackshear on the wing and he just about turned the ball over in an errant pass back to Robinson. However, Robinson got a clear shot at the basket with a little over 10 seconds left and he missed, fortunately for the Hokies, though, Ahmed Hill pulled down the rebound and had a clear and open shot. Hill promptly shot the ball off the side of the backboard and Penn State came down with the ball.
PSU missed the front end of a 1-and-1 as Hill pulled down another key rebound and instead of calling a timeout, Hill made an ill-advised pass around mid-court that Penn State picked off and that was essentially the game.
It was a rough night for Hill, as he finished the game with zero points and missed all six of his attempts from the field. Even with Hill’s struggles, the Hokies almost pulled off the road win.
Robinson led Tech with 19 points, while Blackshear contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Nickeil Alexander-Walker chipped in with 13 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Hokies return home for 5 p.m. ET tilt on Saturday against the Central Connecticut Blue Devils.