The Virginia Tech Hokies entered their ACC opener today needing a win after losing two-straight games by an average of over 20 points. The Hokies also lost Chris Clarke before their loss to West Virginia and there were many questions about what the Hokies could do.
Today, the Hokies proved that this season is far from hopeless.
After falling behind by 10, the Hokies kept fighting and pulled off a great comeback to win in overtime 73-68 over the N.C. State Wolfpack. With the win, the Hokies move to 9-5 overall ahead of a showdown with highly-ranked rival Virginia in Cassell Coliseum Monday night.
The Hokies struggled shooting the ball in the first half, but put together a gritty performance with great defense. Even though the Wolfpack’s Anthony Barber had 21 points, he did it on only 7-21 shooting while Caleb Martin had 14 points on 4-17 shooting.
The Hokies showed that they can bring the necessary defensive intensity to win their fair share of ACC games. Virginia Tech will have to keep that going against Virginia on Monday night if they want to have a chance to win.
Virginia Tech once again struggled at the free throw line making 63.6% of their free throws, but the Wolfpack also shot 63.6% from the charity stripe, making it a non-factor. However, Virginia Tech’s free-throw shooting must improve in the coming weeks.
Virginia Tech was also outrebounded today, but only 50-41 which is not as bad as some other games. The Hokies have room to improve on the glass, but this game was a positive. Virginia Tech’s ball-handling was great today with the Hokies only having four turnovers.
Jalen Hudson and Seth Allen both stepped up in this game after getting their first starts in a few games with each scoring 23 points. Hudson got it done with 10-for-21 shooting while Allen was effective from deep going 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and 9-of-19 overall.
Allen has started to shoot better over the last few minutes, and the Hokies need him to keep that going. Hudson has had some consistency issues, but this is a positive sign that maybe we can start seeing a more consistent Hudson playing at a high level.
Virginia Tech’s win is more impressive due to the fact that Justin Bibbs only had 2 points from free throws while missing all 5 of his field goal attempts including 3 shots from beyond the arc. Bibbs should play better in the coming weeks and help the Hokies even more.
Zach LeDay nearly had his eighth double-double with 9 points and 12 rebounds plus 3 blocks. Kerry Blackshear also came close to a double-double with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
Virginia Tech has some momentum now with Virginia looming on Monday night. However, the task of pulling off the upset is still going to be a huge challenge.