The Virginia Tech Hokies went into Raleigh on Saturday afternoon desperate for an ACC win. Tech had lost two consecutive conference games and four of its last five and was facing an NC State team that was 5-1 in league play and one game behind North Carolina.
The Hokies responded, walking away with a hard-fought 84-78 win to improve to 3-4 in ACC play.
How did Tech get there? The play of guards Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor was a major reason for VT’s win, but five Hokies scored in double figures on Saturday.
This was a back-and-forth throughout, with the two teams trading leads in the first half before the Hokies took a one-point lead into halftime. Virginia Tech’s turnover problem followed them again on Saturday as the Hokies turned the ball over 12 times in the first half. Late in the game, when Tech was trying to put the Wolfpack away, it struggled to handle NC State’s press, but the Hokies’ sharpshooting — from everywhere — allowed them to come away with the win.
Virginia Tech made its last nine shots of the game against NC State and was nearly perfect from the free-throw line over the last 10 minutes to open up a 14-point lead with 2:20 remaining. However, State’s pressure forced some late turnovers, and the Hokies fouled Casey Morsell twice from behind the 3-point line. Morsell made all six free throws and drilled another trey to make things a bit more interesting late.
Tech continued to play solid defense — outside of fouling Morsell — and made its free throws to come away with a critical road win.
Cattoor led Virginia Tech with 19 points, Lynn Kidd scored 14, Pedulla had 13, Tyler Nickel finished with 12 and Robbie Beran contributed 13 points. Beran played one of his best games in a Virginia Tech uniform, providing excellent defense, clutch shots and making all of his free throws late.
As a team, the Hokies were 53% from the field but shot over 60% in the second half. Tech continued its excellent from the charity stripe, making 23 of 28 attempts. One area of weakness for the Hokies remains the turnovers. They finished with 20 for the game, with Pedulla again leading the way with eight. That’s a problem head coach Mike Young must address. Pedulla did finish with eight assists.
The win improves Virginia Tech to 11-7 and 3-4 in the ACC. Now, the Hokies return to Blacksburg, where they’ll host Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Duke over the next nine days.
Here are the highlights from a successful day at the office for Virginia Tech.