The Virginia Tech Hokies looked like they would snap a six-game losing streak on Saturday night against Clemson. Holding a 50-48 lead, forward Grant Basile made the first of two free throws with 21 seconds remaining. If Basile could knock down his second, the worst the Hokies could do was go to overtime.
As with everything else over the past month, it didn't go the Hokies' way as Basile missed. Clemson had the ball with 21 seconds left, senior forward Hunter Tyson drilled a 3-point shot with 12 seconds remaining, and suddenly the Tigers had a 51-50 lead.
The Hokies had 10 seconds remaining, needing only a 2-pointer to win. However, senior guard Hunter Cattoor attempts a 3-pointer, which he missed and sophomore guard Sean Pedulla pulls down the offensive rebound. It was too late, as time expired before Tech could get off another shot.
The loss is Virginia Tech's seventh straight, two of which came to Clemson — both close games. The Hokies now sit at 11-8 and 1-7 in ACC play. A turnaround like last season doesn't appear on the horizon, though. Tech has the players to make a run but obviously has issues closing games. Five of the seven losses were close and could’ve gone either way.
Saturday’s offensive performance may have been the worst of the season for Virginia Tech. The Hokies shot 34.6% from the field and made just six of 22 from beyond the arc. Another issue for VT was turnovers. The Hokies had 14 turnovers vs. 13 assists.
This game has a short turnaround as Tech returns home to host Duke on Monday night. Duke isn’t the Duke many expected, but the Blue Devils remain an elite program loaded with future NBA players. Tech must win Monday. There is no point in talking about what comes after Monday. It’s all about picking up one win at this point for head coach Mike Young.
Basile led the Hokies with 13 points and eight rebounds. Center Lynn Kidd was the only other Hokie to score in double figures with 10 points. Pedulla scored only seven points, making just two of 13 from the field.
Justyn Mutts had another solid all-around game with eight points, seven assists and five rebounds for Tech. Junior guard Darius Maddox went scoreless for Tech.