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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies struggle in return to action, fall to Georgia Tech

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It was Virginia Tech’s first game in 17 days.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 04 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 16 Virginia Tech Hokies returned to the court on Tuesday after a 17-day layoff and struggled in a 69-53 loss to Georgia Tech in Blacksburg.

It was clear the layoff affected the Hokies, as they looked sluggish on both ends of the floor, struggled from the field, and turned the ball over 16 times in the loss.

There was optimism for the Hokies entering the game as sophomore guard Tyrece Radford returned to action from a suspension last month. Radford scored 11 points for the Hokies. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech was still without sharpshooting guard Jalen Cone due to a nagging ankle injury.

In the first half, the Hokies were out of sync offensively, forcing the ball inside, taking ill-advised shots, yet remained in the game. The game was tied at 24, entering halftime.

Georgia Tech, specifically Moses Wright, took over in the second half. The Yellow Jackets would open up a double-digit lead, yet the Hokies hung around. Even when the Jackets would go multiple possessions without a score, the Hokies could not take advantage, and in the end, it proved too much to overcome.

As a team, the Hokies shot just 41% from the field, including 35.7% from 3-point range. Virginia Tech’s defense was just as bad, allowing Georgia Tech to shoot 52% from the field.

Junior forward Keve Aluma did all he could for the Hokies, finishing with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists. Aluma had his struggles from the field, too, making just five of 15 attempts.

Sophomore Nyhiem Alleyne scored 12 points but made just three of his 12 attempts from the field.

The loss drops the Hokies to 14-5 on the season, including an 8-4 mark in the ACC.

Next up for the Hokies is a meeting with Wake Forest on Saturday in Blacksburg.