The Virginia Tech Hokies picked up another impressive win on Friday in the semifinals of the ESPN Events Invitational, defeating Iowa State 71-62. The Hokies improved to 5-1 on the season, picking up wins on back-to-back days after defeating Boise State on Thursday in the tournament opener. It was Iowa State’s first loss of the season. The Cyclones entered Friday ranked inside the top 20 in the KenPom rankings.
Tech got off to a fast start against Iowa State, making eight 3-pointers in the first half and took a 40-30 lead into halftime. The Hokies were eight of 18 from downtown and shot just under 50% from the floor.
The second half was a different story.
The Hokies came out hot, opening their lead to 11 points at 50-39. However, they struggled from the field, leading ISU to mount a comeback and cut the lead to 50-48 with around eight minutes remaining.
Virginia Tech kept fending off the Cyclones, scoring the following six points to increase its lead back to eight points with 6:40 left. Iowa State closed the gap, making it a two-point game again.
Fortunately, that was as close as it would be again as point guard Sean Pedulla ensured the Hokies would advance in the tournament. Pedulla scored 10 points in the final 2:24 to help VT pull away for the victory. Pedulla was clutch again, finishing with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds.
Hunter Cattoor led the Hokies with 18 points, while Lynn Kidd chipped in 13 points. Kidd leads the Hokies, averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game this season. Pedulla is right behind him at 17 points per game but is also averaging six assists and five rebounds per contest.
Highlights vs. Iowa State pic.twitter.com/ZhlAMQPQW9— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) November 25, 2023
Tyler Nickel continues to provide offense off the bench, chipping in 10 points against the Cycles.
It’s been a good weekend thus far for the Hokies in Orlando, and they’ll meet Florida Atlantic on Sunday in the championship game. Florida Atlantic appeared in the Final Four last season.