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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies open ACC/Big Ten Challenge with win over Minnesota

The Hokies are now 7-1 on the season.

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Virginia Tech Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies opened the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Monday with a 67-57 win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

After playing close games in each of their last four contests, the Hokies dominated the Gophers from the jump on Monday night. Virginia Tech shot almost 58% from the floor in the first half, including three of seven from the 3-point line.

Tech continued that domination in the second half as forward Justyn Mutts scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while sophomore point guard Sean Pedulla scored 17 points in leading Tech to its seventh win of the season.

Senior forward Grant Basile scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds. Virginia Tech outrebounded Minnesota 42-27.

The Hokies led by as many as 19 points [63-44] at the under-four timeout. However, over the game's final three minutes, the Golden Gophers outscored the Hokies 13-4, making the final score less decisive.

The Hokies made five of 14 from beyond the arc and shot 49% from the field. Tech's defense was solid throughout the game, holding the Gophers to just 36.7% shooting from the floor.

It was good for Virginia Tech fans to breathe easily in the second half after playing so many close games of late.

The Hokies have a big game on the slate Sunday when No. 18 North Carolina comes to Blacksburg.