If you would have said before today's game that Virginia Tech was going to shoot 3-19 from three-point range including 0-4 in the second half, you probably would have thought Penn State blew them out.
Instead, the Hokies found other ways to get the job and pick up a gritty win to provide an early boost their resume.
Virginia Tech beat Penn State 61-59 to improve to 5-0 on the season and advance to the championship game of the Charleston Classic while the Nittany Lions fall to 4-1. The Hokies will take on the winner of Colorado State vs College of Charleston at 3:30pm on Sunday on ESPN2.
Tech had a strong start leading by double digits for most of the first half despite their struggles from three-point range as Tech outscored PSU 24-12 in the paint in the first half along with having a 5-1 offensive rebounding advantage in the opening 20. While Tech's rebounding cooled off in the second half, they continued to win the battle in the paint outscoring PSU 40-24 overall around the rim.
This was also a strong defensive day for Tech against a very good offensive Penn State team as the Nittany Lions had 14 turnovers while also shooting only 41.1% from the field including 11-30 from 3. Tech wasn't much better at 44.8% but had only 9 turnovers while also having 2 more shot attempts plus 5 more free-throw attempts going 6-9 from the charity stripe compared to 2-4 for Penn State.
Grant Basile was the biggest star of this game for the Hokies as he was an efficient 7-11 including 6-8 from inside the arc plus 2-3 at the free-throw line on his way to having a team-high 17 points. He also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. However, it was his interior scoring especially down the stretch that was crucial for the Hokies to grind out this victory.
Justyn Mutts didn't have his most efficient day, but made his impact in lots of ways with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists including a great assist on a sharp Sean Pedulla cut late that proved crucial. Darius Maddox had 11 points on an efficient 5-8 shooting plus 5 rebounds while Sean Pedulla added 10 points despite being 5-13 thanks to going 5-7 inside the arc.
We will have more as this story develops.