The stage was set for a big day in Blacksburg. The Hokies introduced new head football coach Brent Pry to enormous applause. J.C. Price was in the stands high-fiving students. Now, all the Virginia Tech basketball team had to do was beat Wake Forest in the ACC opener.
Easier said than done. The Demon Deacons shot 61% from the field, including a scorching hot 67% in the second half en route to an easy 80-61 win to improve to 8-1 and 1-0 in ACC play.
It was a tale of two halves for Tech as the Hokies trailed by four points entering the second half. Virginia Tech has been a good second-half team this season, so there was optimism the Hokies would get going in the final 20 minutes. Instead, Wake Forest couldn’t miss in the second half, while the Hokies had turnover issues and couldn’t get hot from beyond the arc, leading to a relatively easy Wake win.
Keve Aluma led the Hokies with 23 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Justyn Mutts scored 15 for VT. The Hokies starting trio of guards in Nahiem Alleyne, Hunter Cattoor and Storm Murphy combined to score 16 points. Cattoor scored just two points and was 0-4 from 3-point range.
It was another rough day for Murphy, who looks a step or two slow on defense. While he did score seven points, there’s nothing to indicate a turnaround will happen soon. In his last four games, Murphy has scored a total of 12 points. The Hokies thought they were getting the guy who average just under 18 points per game last season at Wofford.
The Hokies, who fell to 6-3, host Cornell on Wednesday.