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2024 NIT: Virginia Tech Overcomes Slow Start to Beat Richmond 74-58

Lynn Kidd 1 VT UR 2024 From VT
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

It may have been below freezing this morning in Blacksburg, but Virginia Tech's shooting was even colder to start their first round NIT game against Richmond, making only one of their first 16 shots attempts. However, the Hokies were able to eventually find their rhythm making 12 of their final 15 shots of the first half before shooting over 50% from the field in the second half on their way to victory.

Virginia Tech beat Richmond to improve to 19-14 on the season with the Spiders finishing the season at 23-10.

Virginia Tech will take on Ohio State in the second round of the NIT either this Saturday or Sunday with the Buckeyes having the first right to host as the better seed. There are some logistical challenges for setting the location as both Ohio State and Virginia Tech are hosting the NCAA Women's Tournament this weekend, though the Buckeyes have enough facilities in Columbus to likely host elsewhere.

As mentioned above, the Hokies were ice cold to start this game only making one of their first 16 shot attempts with Richmond not doing much better on their way to only leading 11-2 nine minutes into this game.

However, things around quickly for the Hokies who made 12 of their final 15 shot attempts in the first half led largely by Lynn Kidd who was a perfect 5-5 from the field with 10 points. The Hokies kept that going in the second half going 13-23 from the field while holding Richmond to 23-61 (37.7%) from the field for the entire game, keeping the Spiders at 40% in the second half.

Tech did a great job of drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line in the second half especially, finishing the night 15-17 from the free-throw line. Sean Pedulla was particularly effective at doing that drawing seven fouls on the evening.

Virginia Tech also did a great job of protecting the basketball with only eight turnovers, though Richmond also had only eight turnovers in what was a pretty clean game after the first several minutes.

This was a game won from the inside out by the Hokies with Lynn Kidd being the biggest star of the night dominating down low with 20 points on 9-10 shooting from the field and 2-2 from the free-throw line, plus eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Mylyjael Poteat was also very effective when subbing in for Kidd, putting up seven points, six rebounds, one assist, and two blocks.

Sean Pedulla had a rough shooting first half going 1-8 in the opening 20 minutes, but that was the only thing that went wrong for him offensively as he made all four of his second half shots and went 6-6 from the free-throw line on his way to having 17 points plus seven assists to only one turnover. Pedulla found a way to still make a positive impact with his offensive orchestration in the first half before finding his shooting rhythm in the closing 20 minutes to help the Hokies pull away.

MJ Collins continues to shoot the ball much better in the second half of the season with 15 points tonight on 5-10 shooting including a career-high four threes on six attempts from deep plus six rebounds, two steals, and one assist. In what may be his last game in Cassell Coliseum, Hunter Cattoor had a quiet 10 points, but also added four rebounds and two assists while playing the lead role in holding Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Jordan King to six points on 2-9 shooting.

Tyler Nickel had a fairly quiet night with three points, one rebound, and one assist while Jaydon Young was productive with two points, two rebounds, and two assists. Robbie Beran was kept off the score sheet, but was a force on the glass with six rebounds plus one assist, one steal, and one block. Brandon Rechsteiner, Patrick Wessler, and John Camden all made brief appearances in this game.

Virginia Tech overcame plenty of adversity given their rough shooting in the first 9+ minutes of this game going 1-16 from the field. However, Tech's toughness shined through in this game with Sean Pedulla continuing to play some of his best basketball in addition to Lynn Kidd dominating down low once again and MJ Collins making shots at a much better rate as he has over the second half of the season.

Tech now heads on the road for a second round showdown with Ohio State, as the Hokies look to end the 2023-24 season on a high note with their third NIT title.

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