Outside of Michigan State, Virginia Tech lacked a win against a team that, at minimum, was in the hunt to make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large bid. That changed Saturday as Virginia Tech turned a 10-0 early deficit into a dominant performance beating N.C. State 72-58
With the win, the Hokies improved to 12-4 on the season including 3-2 in ACC play while N.C. State fell to 11-5 overall including 2-3 in ACC play.
Virginia Tech's three-point shooting came alive in the first half as the Hokies went 7-13 from three to start the game. In the second half, the Hokies went cold from three, but Tech found other ways to get the job done in part with a defense that clamped down on N.C. State and kept Markell Johnson out of double figures for the first time since November 16th.
Tech also did an excellent job of protecting the basketball with only 8 turnovers total including just 3 in the second half. The Hokies were also efficient from the free-throw line going 15-17 from the charity stripe while also keeping the offensive rebounding deficit to a minimal at 12-7.
Landers Nolley was the biggest star for the Hokies in this game with 29 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 turnovers on 8-19 shooting including 4-7 from three and 9-10 from the free-throw line. Nolley played like the All-ACC caliber player that he's proven to be this season once again leading the way for the Hokies.
Tyrece Radford was the other star for the Hokies this game with a career high 18 points plus 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 0 turnovers on 8-11 shooting. Radford's stat line looked more like a big man as he was dominant making smart plays on the offensive end and once again producing at an impressively high level as a rebounder.
Wabissa Bede may have had only 2 points, but the Hokies' point guard had a strong performance with 7 assists, 2 steals, and only 2 turnovers. Jalen Cone continued to be a spark plug off the bench with 10 points on 3-8 shooting including 2-4 from three-point range.
P.J. Horne made his first three of 2020 today for his only points, but also had 6 points while Nahiem Alleyne had 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers, but only shot 1-6 from the field. Hunter Cattoor made a difference off the bench with 5 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal while Isaiah Wilkins had 3 rebounds and John Ojiako had a block, a steal, and a rebound.
D.J. Funderburk was the star for N.C. State with 18 points and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes while Pat Andree also had 11 points off the bench. Markell Johnson was held in check by Wabissa Bede as Johnson only had 5 points on 2-14 shooting plus 5 turnovers, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds.
There's no doubt that this was an important victory for Virginia Tech as they earned their second win against a team that is, at minimum, in serious contention to make the NCAA Tournament. More importantly, it gives their resume more depth beyond the Michigan State win while also maintaining Tech's perfect record in Quadrant 1 games.