There was a lot of concern for the No. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday as they hit the road in ACC play to face the No. 23 N.C. State Wolfpack. The Hokies were without star point guard Justin Robinson, injured earlier this week in a win at Miami and also the ‘Pack almost upset No. 3 UVa in Raleigh.
Well, things just don’t turn out quite the way you expected.
The Hokies were stifling on defense in the first half, holding the Wolfpack to just 14 points and went into the half with a 20-14 lead. That looks more like a UVa score, or, perhaps, a gridiron score.
Coming out of the half, the Wolfpack appeared hot, scoring five points in just over a minute. We were expecting to see the N.C. State team we knew existed. However, that didn’t happen as the Hokies went on a run to open up a double-digit lead and never looked back. The Wolfpack would go on one of the longer scoring drought you’ll probably ever see and ended the game with just 24 total points in a 47-24 Tech victory.
NC State's 24 points scored were the fewest by a Division 1 team in a conference game since 2008.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 2, 2019
The Hokies shot just 35.6 percent from the field in this game. They were slightly worse from three-point range, hitting seven of 21 for a 33-percent rate. However, N.C. State shot historically bad. The Wolfpack shot just 16.7 percent from the field and seven percent from three-point range. Yes, 16 percent overall and seven percent from three-point range. And it’s not like the Pack didn’t try. They attempted 28 from beyond the arc and hit just two.
It was arguably the worst offensive performance of the shot-clock era. And that covers several years, folks.
So, considering the Hokies were without Robinson—and who knows how long that will be—this is a huge win. To go on the road and win by 23 against a ranked team without your team leader is a credit to head coach Buzz Williams and his group. It was ugly, but impressive nonetheless.
The Hokies were led by Kerry Blackshear, Jr., who scored 13 points and pulled 13 rebounds. Nickeil Alexander-Walker chipped in with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Up next for the Hokies is No. 15 Louisville on Monday night back in Blacksburg. It’s hard to imagine Robinson will be ready for that one.