Virginia Tech Open Season With Comfortable Victory Over Maine 82-47

Virginia Tech Open Season With Comfortable Victory Over Maine 82-47
Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics/ACC Media
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Nov 09, 2021

For the first time since March 4th, 2020; Cassell Coliseum was awakened with the noise and cheers of thousands of fans for Virginia Tech's opener. Not only was Tech's student section in harmony singing Enter Sandman, but the Hokies on the court were in rhythm as well as you could imagine.

Virginia Tech beat Maine to open their season on a winning note ahead of their trip Friday night to Navy to face the Midshipmen for the Veterans Classic in Annapolis.

The Hokies were dominant in the first jumping out to a 46-22 lead thanks to 19-33 shooting from the field plus only 2 turnovers compared to 10 for Maine. Outside of an offensive rebounding disadvantage, it was about as good of a first half as the Hokies could have envisioned having on their opening night with Tech showing no signs of rust.

Overall, this was an ideal night for the Hokies to find their stride as they were efficient shooting making 53% of their shots and crisp moving the basketball with 18 assists compared to only 8 turnovers. Tech was also 9-21 from three while outscoring Maine 22-4 off turnovers and 42-22 in points in the paint. The only disappointing area was rebounding with Maine having 13 offensive rebounds compared to 9 for Tech.

Picking out one star of Tech's opening night is almost impossible to do as the Hokies had 8 different scorers on the night with all eight scoring at least once in the first half.

However, the top star of the night would probably go to Justyn Mutts who dazzled in plenty of ways and showed signs of great improvement since last season on his way to 15 points on 7-13 shooting plus 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and only 1 turnover. While Keve Aluma may be the biggest star of the frontcourt, Mutts looked like he might be poise for the type of breakout year that could have him joining Aluma with All-ACC honors at the end of this season.

Nahiem Alleyne had a strong night in his own right with 13 points on 5-10 shooting including 3-6 from three plus 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. David N'Guessan has received plenty of preseason praise which materialized in a big way tonight as Tech's sixth man had a career high 15 points on a perfect 7-7 shooting.

Keve Aluma had a quiet but effective night with 8 points and 1 block while Hunter Cattoor had 5 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Storm Murphy was solid in his debut for Virginia Tech with 5 points including a buzzer beater 3 to end the first half plus 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.

John Ojiako showed lots of growth after struggling to find playing time last season in large part due to injuries with 9 points on 4-8 shooting plus 4 rebounds. Darius Maddox showed promise with 9 points on 4-7 shooting and 2 rebounds while Sean Pedulla had 3 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in his Hokie debut.

Lynn Kidd had 3 rebounds in his first game for Virginia Tech while Jalen Haynes plus walk-ons Camden Johnson and Ben Varga all made their debuts.

On a night where the ACC had some shocking losses, Virginia Tech did exactly what they were supposed to as they were firing on all cylinders and showed why they should have been ranked to start this season.