The Virginia Tech Hokies snapped a seven-game losing streak Monday night with a 78-75 win over the Duke Blue Devils. It was a much-needed win for the Hokies, who hadn’t won in around five weeks, improved to 12-8 on the season and 2-7 in ACC.
The Blue Devils jumped on the Hokies early, taking a 7-0 lead. Tech battled back behind senior guard Hunter Cattoor and his outside shooting, and the Hokies would eventually take a 22-17 lead. After going back and forth, the Hokies took a 29-19 lead after a Grant Basile layup with around 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Duke pushed back behind phenomenal freshman forward Kyle Filipowski, who drained a three just before the half to cut VT’s lead to 45-38. The Hokies ended the first half by making 17 of 25 shots from the field, including seven of 10 from beyond the arc. Duke wasn’t exactly cold, making 50% of its shots.
The Blue Devils quieted Cassell Coliseum early in the second half, outscoring the Hokies 18-8 to jump out to a 56-53 lead. Virginia Tech kept the pressure on Duke.
Basile was there to make bucket after bucket for the Hokies and led VT with 24 points and eight rebounds. The two teams remained close late, with Tech holding a slight edge. Basile hit a jumper with 6:03 left, giving the Hokies a 72-67 lead. From there, Cattoor had two good looks on 3-pointers but missed them. VT would not score another basket from the field until freshman MJ Collins connected on a short jumper with 14 seconds remaining to give the Hokies a 77-75 lead. Fortunately for the Hokies, throughout their scoring drought, they played terrific defense, holding the Devils at arm’s length until a Tyrese Proctor 3-pointer with 41 seconds left tied the game.
Fortunately for the Hokies, Collins was up to the challenge.
Duke had another chance, but Proctor missed a three, and Collins pulled down the rebound. The freshman would make one of two from the line, and the Blue Devils would have one more chance, but Cattoor stole the inbounds pass, sealing a Hokie win.
Sophomore point guard Sean Pedulla scored 16 points, while Cattoor scored 15. Justyn Mutts scored nine points and dished out six assists. Collins played 22 minutes and had six points and five rebounds. Collins’ contributions didn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
Head coach Mike Young went with a bigger lineup, benching guard Darius Maddox and replacing him with center Lynn Kidd. Maddox played only six minutes on the night.
The Hokies are back in action on Saturday when Syracuse comes to Blacksburg. The Orange defeated the Hokies earlier this month, 82-72.