Virginia Tech played NC State tough, but fell 71-64 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies dropped to 9-17 and 2-12 with the loss, while the Wolfpack improved to 17-10 and 7-7.
The Hokies played without Cadarian Raines (ankle), Ben Emelogu (ankle and achilles) and Adam Smith (calf). James Johnson noted after the game that Emelogu has been overcompensating for his injured ankle, and that has resulted in a sore achilles. The training staff is being very cautious about that injury, so he is day-to-day.
As a result, Tech’s starting lineup looked like this…
1: Devin Wilson: 39 minutes, 14 points, 9 assists
2: Will Johnston: 33 minutes, 7 points, 3 rebounds
3: Jarell Eddie: 33 minutes, 14 points, 6 rebounds
4: Trevor Thompson: 18 minutes, 9 points, 9 rebounds (foul trouble)
5: Joey van Zegeren: 31 minutes, 9 points, 3 rebounds
The Hokies could only look to Christian Beyer, Marshall Wood and C.J. Barksdale off the bench, and the loss of Emelogu and Raines really hurt their depth.
“It’s very tough, especially when you have Will Johnston out there playing a lot of minutes and Devin Wilson is playing a lot of minutes,” James Johnson said. “I think that’s contributing to some of the turnovers, 17 is too much for us, but we get tired and don’t play as smart as we need to play.”
NC State countered Tech’s lack of depth with future first round draft pick T.J. Warren, who scored 31 points. Former McDonald’s All-American point guard Tyler Lewis (who Virginia Tech recruited heavily and offered in the 7th grade) had 11 assists and no turnovers for the Wolfpack.
The Hokies trailed the entire game, but they did cut the NC State lead to four points with 36 seconds left. However, Devin Wilson fouled out shortly thereafter, which ruined any chance Tech had to complete the comeback.
Things don’t get any easier this coming week, as the Hokies travel to Duke on Tuesday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.