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Virginia Tech Loses at Florida State 77-74 Despite Late 11-1 Run

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

Virginia Tech needed an 11-1 run to pull off a crazy comeback to force overtime at Florida State after giving up a 14-0 run during the second half, or so it seemed at the time. However, a terrible foul call on Hunter Cattoor with 1.2 seconds on an out-of-control Primo Spears drive sent Spears to the free-throw line where he both free throws to give Florida State the lead which they would hold onto.

Tech did get one more chance in a way after FSU got back to the free-throw line making the first and missing the second. Before the ball was touched though, FSU started the clock preventing Hunter Cattoor from having the chance he should've had to try to hit a very low percentage shot, ending the Hokies' suddenly faint hopes of victory earlier than it should have been.

Virginia Tech lost to Florida State 77-74 to fall to 9-5 on the season including 1-2 in ACC play while the Seminoles improved to 8-6 overall including 2-1 in ACC play.

This was a tale of two halves with Virginia Tech being sharp defensively but inconsistent offensively in the first half, and sharper offensively but worse defensive in the final 20 minutes, especially on the interior.

There were multiple big runs in this game that swung the momentum, with the one that will define this game being the 14-0 run FSU went on in the second half. That included the Seminoles scoring six second chance points off of missed free throws. To give up six points on three offensive rebounds from missed free throws is unacceptable any game, especially when it all happens within a two-minute stretch.

Tech's offensive did not look like the well-oiled machine that we have become accustomed to under Mike Young as Tech had 15 turnovers compared to only nine assists on 23 made shots. Those struggles led to plenty of inconsistent offense for the Hokies though they did start to find their scoring rhythm in the second half.

However, those turnovers and 11 offensive rebounds for FSU (compared to seven for VT) led to a 61-51 shot attempt disparity in favor of Florida State that the Hokies were unable to overcome. The Hokies were still the more efficient shooting team as they were 25-51 (49.0%) from the field including 11-23 (47.8%) from three-point range while FSU was 28-61 (45.9%) from the field including 3-15 (20.0%) from three-point range. Both teams didn't shoot well from the free-throw with VT going 13-20 (65.0%) and FSU going 18-29 (62.1%).

Virginia Tech's interior defense was terrible in the second half and not good overall even with the solid halfcourt defense that the Hokies had in the first half. The stats reflect it greatly with Virginia Tech being outscored 42-22 in the paint in what was a bad day for Tech's frontcourt.

One encouraging thing for the Hokies today was the play of Sean Pedulla as he started to look more and more like the Pedulla we know as the game progressed. Tech's star point guard had 26 points on 9-17 shooting including 3-6 from three-point range plus 5-8 from the free-throw line while adding two rebounds, two assists, and four turnovers. He had the final seven points for the Hokies and was the reason why Tech was able to claw their way back and nearly get to overtime in this one.

Pedulla still has some work to do to sharpen his game and avoid some of the bad turnovers that he had early, but he looked much more like the Pedulla the Hokies are going to need if they will be able to turn things around.

Hunter Cattoor also was highly effective in this game with 19 points on 6-8 shooting including 5-6 from three-point range plus five rebounds, one assist, and one block. Meanwhile, MJ Collins added 10 points on 4-8 shooting from the field in what was a strong game for Tech's leading backcourt trio.

However, the same couldn't be said for a frontcourt that struggled mightily.

Lynn Kidd has had a breakout season, but this was arguably his worst game of the season as he only had two points on 1-5 shooting with three turnovers and was nonexistent offensively for most of this game. He did have eight rebounds, three assists, and a block so there was some good for Kidd today. However, Tech at its best has been driven by a lead scoring trio of Pedulla, Cattoor, and Kidd with the talented big man being the one who didn't show up offensively today.

Robbie Beran and Mekhi Long had their struggles as well though Long was definitely the better of the two by a good amount. Long had four points, four rebounds, and two blocks while Beran had two points and three rebounds with the duo combining for three turnovers. Mylyjael Poteat didn't have his best day either with six rebounds but only two points while fouling out. This will be a game that Tech's frontcourt will want to forget quickly to state the obvious.

Tyler Nickel did have nine points on the wing but left something to be desired defensively. Brandon Rechsteiner struggled when he was in the game with a steal and a -9 plus/minus in only six minutes of action.

The Seminoles' big men played a key role in FSU's success as Jaylan Gainey and Cameron Corhen each had 11 points and three rebounds, while Baba Miller added eight points and 10 rebounds. Primo Spears has given FSU's backcourt a boost as he added 11 points while Darin Green Jr had 10 points and three steals.

There's plenty of reasons why Tech lost this game with the bad foul call with 1.2 seconds to go and Florida State's wrong starting of the clock before a Hunter Cattoor prayer being far from the only reasons. Those things can't be denied though as I can't imagine where that ever is a foul call against Cattoor and the clock mismanagement was unacceptable for an ACC game.

However, Tech's frontcourt play was subpar today while the Hokies were unable to string even one half where they were playing high-level basketball on both ends of the floor. The first half was defined by good defense with the second half being better offense but deteriorating defense, especially on the interior which cost the Hokies dearly.

This is only a Q2 loss, so it won't be looked down upon for Virginia Tech's resume if they are on the bubble come March Madness. However, the Hokies are looking more like a NIT bubble team than a NCAA Tournament team with the way they are currently playing.

Sean Pedulla's improved play today should give Hokie fans reason to believe that this season is far from over. The question is can they actually deliver and turn this season around before they dig themselves into too big of a hole as they've done the past two seasons.

This upcoming week presents a great opportunity to do just that with a pair of home games against #16 Clemson and Miami that could boost Tech's resume greatly. If they play like they did today though, we'll be talking about a 1-4 ACC record for the Hokies at the end of next weekend.

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