Virginia Tech's road woes continued on Saturday as the Hokies dropped a 59-51 contest at Clemson. Tech shot just 28.3 percent from the field on the way to its fourth conference loss of the season.
The Hokies started out hot, taking a 5-0 lead right out of the gate. Kerry Blackshear, Jr. kicked things off with a three-pointer to give Tech the first basket of the game. It wouldn't last long, though, as Clemson started to come back immediately and went on an 11-0 run to take the lead back.
Nine of Clemson's first 11 points of the game were scored by guard Shelton Mitchell, who put together an impressive afternoon for the Tigers. The Hokies fought back throughout the first half, putting pressure on Clemson, but went into halftime trailing 33-29.
The Hokies' struggles continued into the second half, where they started 0-for-3 from the field before Ty Outlaw was able to make a three-point shot two minutes into the game. Despite Tech's shooting issues, Clemson was never able to truly pull away until the closing minutes of the game.
The Hokies trailed by five points with 2:15 to go in the game, but that was as close as they would get as Clemson made five straight shots to seal the victory. Ty Outlaw sunk a three-pointer with 14 seconds left in the game, but the shot didn't matter much as time ran out and Clemson walked away with its fifth ACC victory.
The loss continues a tough stretch for the Hokies, who have lost four of their last eight. They've been having a tougher time recently without key contributors such as PJ Horne and Justin Robinson, who are out with injury.
With those players out, other Hokies have had to step up, including sophomore guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was second on the team in scoring. Alexander-Walker had 13 points for Tech, although he shot just 3-for-14 from the field. He went 6-for-7 from the free-throw line and made one three-point shot in the game.
Blackshear led the team in scoring with 17 points against the Tigers. He shot 5-for-8 from the field and 1-for-1 from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-10 forward was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. Despite his impressive offensive performance, Blackshear's day was overshadowed by five personal fouls, causing him to foul out near the end of the game.
Overall, Tech's performance was its worst shooting outing of the ACC season. The Hokies have shot poorly in recent ACC games, and their struggles on increase while on the road. Their 26.3 percentage on three-point shots was on the lower end of their performances as well, as the team shot just 5-for-19 from beyond the arc.
The Hokies have a few days off before returning home for a matchup against Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech has already beaten the Yellow Jackets once this season, although that game featured a poor shooting performance as well.
The Hokies will then travel to Pittsburgh before hosting No. 3 Virginia on Feb. 18 in the second game against their in-state rival this season.
Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics