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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies survive Wake Forest to move to 5-1 in ACC play

A freshman helped lead the Hokies to victory.

NCAA Basketball: AFR Hall of Fame Tip-Off-South Florida at Virginia Tech David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

They say a good team is measured by how it performs on its worst night against an inferior opponent.

For the 20th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, Sunday’s 64-60 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem certainly put that theory to the test.

Virginia Tech, one of the better three-point shooting teams in the ACC, struggled mightily against the Demon Deacons. Tech shot just 22 percent from beyond the arc. To make matters worse, forward Keve Aluma struggled, too.

Fortunately for the Hokies, Aluma helped elsewhere. While he scored just five points, making only one of six shots from the field, he led the team with 11 rebounds and blocked four shots.

Sophomore sharpshooter Jalen Cone had his worst game of the season, going scoreless and missing each of his four attempts from the field. Fellow sophomore guard, Hunter Cattoor, picked up the slack, scoring 13 points and connecting on three of his five three-point attempts.

Perhaps Virginia Tech’s biggest surprise contribution in the win over Wake was of freshman forward David N’Guessan. The lanky first-year big man scored a career-high 13 points for the Hokies, making all five of his field-goal attempts.

Sophomore guard Tyrece Radford was terrific for the Hokies, leading the team with 20 points.

With the victory, the Hokies moved to 11-2 on the season with a 5-1 mark in ACC play. Tech didn’t play its best game against a team looking for its first ACC win, yet found ways to win. That is the sign of a good team.

Afterward, someone asked Virginia Tech coach Mike Young if he was surprised by his team’s conference record at this point in the season. Young was honest and decisive in his answer.

Young is right. This team is good. And only getting better.

When some of the team’s top players struggle, other players step up. On Sunday, it was N’Guessan and Cattoor. Young should be encouraged by N’Guessan’s performance, and it could earn the freshman more playing time in the next few months.

The Hokies host Boston College on Wednesday in Blacksburg.