The Virginia Tech Hokies were undefeated heading into last week’s NIT Season Tip-Off, where they played a pair of ranked foes in Memphis and Xavier. Both games were close, but Virginia Tech dropped its first two games this season.
Therefore, Wednesday’s game vs. Maryland in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was critical for the Hokies.
Mike Young’s team answered the call as the Hokies held off the Terrapins, 62-58, in College Park to pick up an impressive road victory. The Terps are annually one of the best teams in the Big Ten and began this season ranked. The Hokies improved to 6-2 after the win.
The Hokies controlled the game throughout the first half, but the Terrapins took a three-point lead late in the first half before Virginia Tech guard Hunter Cattoor nailed a 3-pointer to tie it up. The Hokies would tack on another bucket to go into halftime with a 31-29 lead.
Throughout the early portion of the second half, it looked as if Maryland had taken control of the game. The Terps had a four-point before the Hokies went on a 7-0 run to take a 49-46 lead, and that was enough for the Hokies as they never trailed again.
Virginia Tech shot nine of 20 from beyond the arc, while Maryland made only 1 of 13 3-point attempts. That proved to be the difference in the game.
It was another strong performance from Virginia Tech’s defense, which has been outstanding outside of the loss to Xavier.
Keve Aluma led the Hokies with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Justyn Mutts scored 16 for the Hokies, while Cattoor scored 12 points — all off 3-point baskets.
Guard Storm Murphy struggled again. He did not score for the second consecutive game and has scored a total of five points in the last three games. He didn’t struggle with turnovers in this game, as he finished with four assists vs. only one turnover. However, the Hokies were expecting Murphy to be a big part of their offense. It’s no coincidence his struggles have come against long and athletic teams in Memphis, Xavier and Maryland.
The Hokies need more from Murphy beginning on Saturday against Wake Forest.
Congrats to the Hokies, as this was a big win.