The Virginia Tech Hokies entered Saturday’s game against the No. 6 Virginia Cavaliers needing a win. After beginning ACC play with a 1-7 record, the Hokies won two in a row before stumbling in the final minutes against Miami last week. Another loss likely meant Tech had no chance of turning its season around.
Fortunately for the Hokies, they were ready — and so was Cassell Coliseum for the noon tipoff. Cassell was rocking from start to finish, as Virginia Tech controlled the game throughout before coming away with a much-needed 74-68 win over the Cavaliers.
Virginia’s typically stellar defense had trouble stopping VT, as the Hokies shot almost 51% from the field. Tech shot over 50% from the field in the fourth consecutive game. It’s no coincidence the Hokies have won three of those games against good competition and took Miami to the wire during this stretch.
In another positive sign for Tech’s offense, the Hokies only turned the ball over eight times and had 19 assists. Senior Justyn Mutts led Virginia Tech with eight assists while also scoring 17 points.
As for Virginia Tech’s defense, the Hokies held the Hoos to 41% shooting from the field.
The Hokies never trailed, and anytime it felt like UVA was about to go on a run, Tech held them off as sophomore point guard Sean Pedulla was outstanding against Virginia point guard Kihei Clark. Clark, one of the best on-ball defenders in the nation, caused problems for the Hokies when the two teams met last month. However, Pedulla won Saturday’s battle, leading all scorers with 22 points.
In addition to Pedulla and Mutts, senior forward Grant Basile  and senior guard Hunter Cattoor  also scored in double figures. Freshman MJ Collins started again and finished with five points and five rebounds, while Darius Maddox remains sidelined with a family issue.
The Hokies were only the third team to shoot 50% or better against the Hoos this season. Virginia is No. 1 in the ACC in scoring defense at 60 points per game.
This was a terrific win for Virginia Tech. Still, the Hokies must take advantage of their upcoming schedule with Boston College, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech as the next three opponents. From there, the schedule toughens again with games against Pittsburgh, Miami and Duke.