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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies drop 3rd in a row, fall to Clemson

Virginia Tech falls to 1-3 in ACC play.

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

The Virginia Tech Hokies fell to the Clemson Tigers 69-65 Wednesday night to fall to 11-4 on the season and 1-3 in ACC play. It’s Virginia Tech’s third consecutive loss, all in conference play. It’s also the first time the Hokies have lost at Cassell Coliseum this season.

The Hokies, who trailed for much of the first half, battled back to take a 3-point lead going into intermission after back-to-back baskets from forward Grant Basile and guard Darius Maddox. Clemson had led by as many as eight points in the first half before Tech’s late rally.

Virginia Tech appeared to carry that momentum into the second half, answering every Tigers’ bucket through the first several minutes of the second half. Things began to trend toward Clemson when Hunter Tyson and RJ Godfrey made back-to-back 3-pointers with 11 minutes to play to give the Tigers a 50-47 lead.

A little over two minutes later, another Tyson three gave the Tigers an eight-point lead at 57-49, and things looked bleak for the Hokies. Head coach Mike Young called a timeout, refocused his team and they slowly fought back. A Basile 3-pointer, followed by six consecutive free throws made — four from Basile — to give Tech a 58-57 lead.

Clemson answered. The Tigers went back up by five points, 63-58, with 2:27 remaining. Virginia Tech forward Lynn Kidd made a layup followed by two Justyn Mutts free throws, and it was a one-point game. Clemson went back up after making four straight from the free-throw line. Virginia Tech guard Sean Pedulla answered with a three to cut it two points. The Hokies fouled Joshua Beadle, who made one of two from the line, giving Clemson a 68-65 lead with seven seconds remaining.

Pedulla would get a look, but it fell short, and Tech had dropped its third straight ACC game.

Basile led the Hokies with 17 points, while Pedulla scored 14. Mutts and Maddox each scored 11 points. Mutts tied for the team lead with nine rebounds [with Kidd] and also dished out four assists. Kidd again started the game with guard Hunter Cattoor missing his second consecutive game. Cattoor and freshman guard Rodney Rice were game-time decisions again, and neither played.

The Hokies shot just 31% from the field in the loss, missing several shots around the basket, particularly in the second half.

Young must get his team back on track as North Carolina State comes to Blacksburg on Saturday. The Wolfpack blew out Duke Wednesday night, 84-60.