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Virginia Tech Holds Off Physical Oklahoma State for 70-65 Victory

Sean Pedulla 1 VT CSU 2022 ES
Photo Credit: Erin Smith

Virginia Tech got off to a strong first half but came out in the second half struggling to make shots while Oklahoma State couldn't miss for several minutes. Combine that with Justyn Mutts having foul trouble issues and the Hokies were in some trouble against a quality opponent.

However, Tech leaned on their defense and increase their physicality to fight their way back into the lead without Mutts before sealing a win with more defense including a stretch where they forced three-straight Cowboy turnovers to seal the victory.

Virginia Tech beat Oklahoma State 70-65 to improve to 10-1 on the season with the Cowboys falling to 6-4. This is only the fourth time in the 21st Century that VT has started 10-1 or better joining the 2009-10, 2016-17, and 2018-19 teams.

Offensively, it was a tale of two halves as the Hokies shot 41.8% from the field in the first half before shooting 34.6% in the second half including 2-13 to open the final 20 minutes. That cold start combined with Oklahoma State finding their rhythm including their star Avery Anderson, who had all 15 points in the second half, brought the Cowboys not only into the game but also into the lead.

However, it was Tech's defense that proved important in getting this victory with the Hokies having 11 steals among the 17 Oklahoma State turnovers compared to only 10 turnovers of their own. Tech only turned that into a 19-14 points off turnovers advantage but the three-straight they forced inside the final 3 minutes proved crucial in giving Tech a multi-possession lead to allow them to free throw their way to icing the game.

Tech also continues to show growth with their offensive rebounding ending the game even 11-11 in that category with OSU only having an 11-10 advantage in second chance points. Growth on the offensive glass has been part of why the Hokies have been able to keep on winning despite their three-point shooting not being in top form currently.

Sean Pedulla was once again the leading star for the Hokies with 16 points on 6-16 from the field including some important buckets down the stretch plus 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal with only 1 turnover. Pedulla continues to be a consistent leading scorer for this team while making big plays in big plays again and again.

Justyn Mutts impacted this game on both ends of the floor stuffing the stat sheet with a strong performance with 13 points, 6 steals, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds while making some big plays in the final 4 minutes after sitting for 5+ minutes after picking up an early fourth foul.

Hunter Cattoor and Mylyjael Poteat played big roles in this one as Cattoor had 9 points including 7-8 from the free-throw line plus 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Poteat was big off the bench with 8 points and 6 rebounds including a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line. Those 2 proved crucial especially with lots of made free throws down the stretch of this one to take the lead and seal the victory while also playing some big defense especially from Poteat in the paint.

Grant Basile was productive with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks while Darius Maddox had only 7 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 block but played with a great intensity that helped keep the Hokies fighting when things were going against them. Lynn Kidd added 2 points and 2 rebounds while MJ Collins had 2 points and 1 rebound.

This was a big win for the Hokies for two reasons. First, Tech picked up a valuable non-conference victory that could easily end up in the top 50 of the NET and become a Q1 victory.

Second and more importantly, this team found a way to win on a day where not only were they not at top form from three-point range (35%, 7-20) but also as a whole offensively leaning on their defense to get the job done.

Tech continues to show they can beat quality teams in a multitude of ways that bodes well for them throughout this season and is a big reason why they should be a top 25 team tomorrow.

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