Photo Credit: Liam Sment
A rough stretch turned worse for Virginia Tech as despite a strong start, the Hokies lost fifth straight game, dropping this one 77-73 to Boston College.
“It’s athletics, it’s the game,” said Mike Young. “[Losing] is not comfortable, it’s not ideal. But it’s about big picture stuff. We’ve got a number of games left and we want to win as many of those as we can.”
The loss for the Hokies drops their record to 14-10 on the season and a 5-8 record in the ACC. This loss has the Hokies trending towards the bubble of the NIT and farther away from the NCAA Tournament bubble that they were on the right side of just a few weeks ago.
Despite the tough loss, there were some key impacts by the Hokies as their young stars showed their potential once again.
Landers Nolley’s double-double performance consisted of 29 points and a career-high 11 rebounds; marking the 22nd time this season that Nolley has achieved double figure scoring.
The other freshmen had a mixed bag of results in the afternoon. Starters Nahiem Alleyne and Tyrece Radford both recorded double figures of 16 and 10 respectively. Jalen Cone added six points for Virginia Tech off the bench.
After the game, Mike Young had praise for Nahiem Alleyne as he continues to show plenty of potential to become a future star for Virginia Tech.
“He’s a basketball, he can really floor it. He’s going to get better and better, he’s going to get bigger and stronger," said Mike Young.
The Hokies had their struggles against the dynamic duo of Boston College’s Steffon Mitchell and Jay Heath, who led the Eagles in scoring in the afternoon.
Mitchell recorded his fifth double-double of the season on Saturday after tallying up 21 points and 15 rebounds, which included four on the offensive end. Heath notched 18 points on the afternoon comprised of 6-10 shooting from the field and 3-7 from behind the arc.
After receiving no action in the first, Eagles’ Kamari Williams made some big shots for Boston College in the second half going 3-4 from the field including 2-3 behind the arc, keeping his team in the game.
The Hokies started off this contest just like how the game in Chestnut Hill went two weeks ago, by starting off hot behind the arc and running up the score on the Eagles.
A 13-2 run sparked the Hokies out into what seemed to be a comfortable 12-point lead over the Eagles; but Boston College slowly worked themselves back into the game.
The Hokies ran into an offensive slump later in the first half, which saw nearly five minutes of no points, allowing the Eagles to cut a 10-point deficit down to 2.
After going into the half trailing by five points, the Eagles made an adjustment defensively by switching from man-to-man to a 2-3 zone, and that seemed to be the turning point in the game.
The Eagles took advantage of their defensive strategy to turn up the offense and regain a lead of 48-47; their first since 8-7 in the first half.
The Hokies battled back strongly late in the second half and used a 6-0 run to take back the lead, making it 57-56.
Alleyne showed a ton of guts in the end of regulation by nailing two big free throws to knot the game up at 66 as the clocks hit triple zero.
In the overtime period, the Hokies started off hot with two big three-pointers by Wabissa Bede and Landers Nolley; but the Eagles stayed in the game with their free throw shooting and put the game away with their only field goal of the period, a Michell back step layup over Nolley to put the Eagles up 75-73 before a missed Nolley three sealed the Hokies' fate.
This one will definitely hurt for the Hokies, a game where they seemed to be the better team throughout the game but missed up on an golden opportunity to turn their season around.
“We’re going to deal with it by continuing to compete, continuing to get better, and coming in here each and every day with that intention,” said Mike Young.
The Hokies will return next Saturday at Cassell Coliseum to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers in an attempt to put an end to a five-game skid. Given their youth and recent struggles, having a full week between games is likely a very good thing.