The Virginia Tech Hokies encountered their first scare of the young college basketball season Thursday escaping with a 75-71 win over the Old Dominion Monarchs in the first round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic.
The Hokies led throughout the game, including a 39-25 lead going into halftime.
However, in the second half, the Hokies slowly allowed the Monarchs to chip away at their lead. ODU had cut the Virginia Tech lead to six points with around five minutes remaining when junior guard Darius Maddox nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner. Just over a minute later, Maddox hit another 3 to increase Tech’s lead back to 10 points.
ODU wouldn’t quit. With under one minute remaining, the Hokies, specifically sophomore point guard Sean Pedulla, had trouble knocking down free throws. Old Dominion’s Mekhi Long hit a 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining to cut the lead to two points. The Hokies inbounded the ball to senior guard Hunter Cattoor, who was fouled. Cattoor made both free throws and ending ODU’s late surge.
Center Lynn Kidd started the game with forward Grant Basile coming off the bench. Kidd played 12 minutes, while Basile played 26 minutes and scored 15 points. Five Hokies scored in double figures with Pedulla leading the way. Pedulla also dished out seven assists and only turned the ball over once.
Maddox scored 12, Justyn Mutts scored 11 with nine rebounds, and Cattoor chipped in with 10 points.
Next up for the Hokies is Penn State on Friday. The Hokies must defend better and crash the boards if they are going to take down the Nittany Lions. In a somewhat surprising stat, the Monarchs outrebounded the Hokies 46-32 on Thursday.
Penn State employs a four-guard lineup, which could match up favorably for the Hokies. Tech had some trouble with ODU’s long and lean guards, though.
The Hokies and Nittany Lions tip off at Noon ET Friday from Charleston.