The Virginia Tech Hokies won their second consecutive game Wednesday, holding off the N.C. State Wolfpack, 62-59, to improve to 10-7 on the season, and 2-4 in ACC play.
It looked to be an easy night for the Hokies, as they led 35-21 going into halftime. But the Wolfpack came out hot in the second half. Fortunately for the Hokies, every time the ‘Pack would get close, Tech would answer with a bucket.
When Virginia Tech guard Storm Murphy hit a 3-pointer with just over two minutes remaining, it looked like the Hokies would finally hold off N.C. State. However, Virginia Tech guard Nahiem Alleyne struggled in the final two minutes, turning over the ball an unprecedented four times in a span of around 80 seconds. Overall, the Hokies had five turnovers in that same timeframe, allowing the Wolfpack to cut Tech’s lead to one point.
Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young sat Alleyne, and inserted freshman guard Sean Pedulla into the game. That proved to be a wise move as Pedulla was fouled with 12 seconds remaining, making both free throws to give the Hokies a 62-59 lead.
Tech’s defense held the Wolfpack on their final possession, ensuring the Hokies would come away with their second consecutive ACC win.
“We’ve got to respond better than we did in the second half, but let’s take nothing away from my guys. A win on the road, two in a row, a little better.” ~ CMY— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 20, 2022
Back to Blacksburg. Back in the lab tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/OgCTTZicmM
This game looked comfortable for a while, but the Hokies did everything in their power to try to give another game away. Alleyne, who was outstanding in the previous win over Notre Dame, struggled again Wednesday. In addition to the turnovers late, Alleyne scored nine points and shot just three of 14 from the field.
Justyn Mutts scored 13 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Keve Aluma scored 11 points and led the Hokies with 11 rebounds. The Hokies finally got some help from their bench, as Pedulla, David N’Guessan, Darius Maddox and John Ojiako combined to score 17 points in the win.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Hokies with back-to-back road games at Boston College and North Carolina in a span of three days beginning Saturday.