The Virginia Tech Hokies avoided a three-game losing streak by taking down the No. 22 Clemson Tigers 87-72 on Wednesday night in Blacksburg.
Junior guard Sean Pedulla led the Hokies with a career-high 32 points, shooting nine of 16 from the floor, including making six of his 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Pedulla also made all eight of his free-throw attempts.
But Pedulla wasn't the only one with a career-high on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Tyler Nickel scored 24 points off the bench in 27 minutes, drilling five of his seven attempts from 3-point range. As a team, Tech hit 13 of its 24 attempts from downtown.
After two consecutive losses to Wake Forest and Florida State, the Hokies badly needed a win and jumped ahead of Clemson early, going into halftime with a 53-44 lead. Unfortunately, senior guard Hunter Cattoor suffered a head injury in the game and didn't play in the second half.
Cattoor's injury didn't slow the Hokies down, though, as Pedulla or Nickel always had an answer when it looked like the Tigers were closing in. Multiple times in the second half, Clemson trimmed VT's lead to four points, but Pedulla would answer with a big shot, and just like that, Tech's lead would go back to nine points.
For as good as Pedulla and Nickel, this was truly a team win for Virginia Tech. Senior center Lynn Kidd had a rough night against his former team, scoring only six points, but the rest of the team picked him up. Robbie Beran hit a clutch three late and also pulled down eight rebounds. Sophomore guard MJ Collins tied Pedulla for the team lead with seven assists. Senior forward Mylyjael Poteat gave the Hokies critical minutes off the bench, especially defensively against Clemson star big man PJ Hall. Mekhi Long finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
highlights vs. Clemson pic.twitter.com/rdlW0ql4Wt— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) January 11, 2024
The victory improves the Hokies to 10-5 and 2-2 in ACC play. Tech hosts Miami on Saturday, followed by trips to Virginia and N.C. State over the next 10 days. A tough stretch is upcoming, but an important one for Virginia Tech’s March dreams.