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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies defeat Valparaiso 71-50

Hokies improve to 7-3, remain undefeated at home

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament First Round - Virginia Tech vs Notre Dame Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After six days off, the Virginia Tech Hokies were back on the court Saturday against the Valparaiso Beacons from Cassell Coliseum. Virginia Tech was without point guard Sean Pedulla, who missed the game with a foot injury. Pedulla injured his foot late in last Sunday’s win over Louisville. Fortunately for Tech, the Hokies didn’t need Pedulla on Saturday, taking down Valparaiso 71-50.

In his place, freshman guard Brandon Rechsteiner made his first career start, played 28 minutes, scored five points and dished out three assists.

The Hokies got off to a strong start, shooting 57% from the field in the first half, including making six of 12 from the 3-point line. Tech’s defense was strong, too, holding Valpo to just 33% from the field. VT’s one problem in the first half was turnovers. The Hokies turned the ball over 11 times in the first 20 minutes. The turnovers have plagued Tech in recent weeks.

Virginia Tech’s shooting slowed down some in the final 20 minutes, but fortunately, so did the turnovers. One area where the Hokies dominated was on the glass. Tech almost doubled up Valpo on the boards, 41-22.

Senior guard Hunter Cattoor paced the Hokies again with 19 points. Senior center Lynn Kidd was in double figures again, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds. Sophomore wing Tyler Nickel also scored in double figures, scoring 12 points. He was four of seven from beyond the arc.

With Pedulla out, head coach Mike Young went with Nickel, Mekhi Long, Kidd, Cattoor and Rechsteiner as his starting five. MJ Collins came off the bench, playing 18 minutes and did not score. Collins had his best game in last week’s win over Louisville.

The Hokies have another long break, as they are off until next Saturday when the Vermont Catamounts come to Blacksburg.