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ACC Tournament 2023: NC State eliminates the Hokies

The Hokies were no match for the Wolfpack.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Second Round - NC State vs Virginia Tech Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies [19-14, 8-12] ran into a buzzsaw Wednesday night in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Tech, which had defeated Notre Dame on Tuesday, faced the No. 6 seed North Carolina State Wolfpack [23-9, 12-8] on Wednesday.

How did it go?

The ‘Pack dominated the Hokies from start to finish, eventually walking away with a 97-77 win and advancing to play Clemson in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Remarkably, the Hokies never led the entire game. After winning the opening tip, senior guard Hunter Cattoor missed a 3-pointer. It was all downhill from there. N.C. State guard Terquavion Smith drained a 3 to give the Wolfpack a 3-0 lead, which would be the theme of the night.

North Carolina State shot an incredible 62% from the field and connected on 11 of 24 [45%] from beyond the arc. Anytime the Hokies appeared to make a run, the Wolfpack drained a trey.

Offensively, Virginia Tech got off to another slow start, allowing N.C. State to build its lead, which was 27 points at halftime. As has been the case all season, the Hokies were too happy to force 3-point attempts instead of working the ball inside. As a team, VT shot 48% from the field, which improved significantly in the second half when the game was already decided. The Hokies were nine of 24 from beyond the arc.

The Wolfpack outrebounded Virginia Tech 33-23.

Smith led the Pack with 30 points, making 11 of 13 shots from the field, including 5-7 from beyond the arc. Backcourt mate Jarkel Joiner scored 20 for N.C. State.

Freshman Rodney Rice was the bright spot for the Hokies. Rice, who hit a clutch 3-pointer in Tuesday’s win over Notre Dame, played 19 minutes and led the Hokies with 17 points. He was 5/7 from the field, all from behind the 3-point line. If we’ve learned anything recently, Rice will be an impact player for Virginia Tech next season.

Justyn Mutts scored 15 points for the Hokies, while Grant Basile chipped in 11. Cattoor and Sean Pedulla combined to shoot six of 20 from the field.

With the regular season and ACC Tournament over, the Hokies now await their fate in what will likely be a trip to the NIT. Tech was eliminated from NCAA Tournament contention weeks ago after a 1-7 start in ACC play doomed them.