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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies defeat Georgia Tech behind strong 2nd half

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Virginia Tech Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

For the first 20 minutes of Virginia Tech’s ACC road game at Georgia Tech Thursday, it looked like the Hokies were about to suffer an embarrassing defeat. However, a solid second half saw the Hokies pull away for a closer-than-expected 62-58 win over the Jackets.

The win was Virginia Tech’s seventh in its last eight games, and the Hokies are now 17-11 on the season, with a 9-8 record in ACC play.

In the first half, the Hokies shot just 33% from the field, including making only 3 of 14 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s zone defense frustrated VT’s shooters, while the Yellow Jacket offense shot 52% from the field.

The Hokies came to play in the second — especially sophomore guard Darius Maddox. Maddox scored 12 points for the game, 10 of which came in the second half, including a stretch where he scored seven consecutive Virginia Tech points to open up VT’s biggest lead of the night.

However, the Yellow Jackets were scrappy and wouldn’t go away. Late in the game, Georgia Tech cut the lead to three points, but a defensive goaltending call on the Jackets pushed the Hokies’ lead back up to five points with 14 seconds left and that was enough for the Hokies to escape with the win.

For the game, Virginia Tech would shoot 39% from the floor and made six of 24 3-point attempts. VT’s defense was better in the final 20 minutes, too, as Georgia Tech finished the night at 43% from the floor.

Maddox, Keve Aluma and Nahiem Alleyne all scored 12 points for the Hokies. Aluma led Virginia Tech with 10 rebounds. The Hokies outrebounded Georgia Tech, 39-31.

Next up for the Hokies is a road game at Miami. A win over the Hurricanes would give the Hokies the much-needed Quad-1 victory they desperately need for their NCAA Tournament hopes.