Virginia Tech played better than they did in their previous two games, but still fell to NC State 69-53 on Saturday night in Raleigh. The Hokies dropped to 10-17 overall and 2-12 in the ACC, while the Wolfpack improved to 16-11 and 7-7, keeping their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
Tech trailed by as many as many as 16 points in the first half, with NC State taking what seemed like an insurmountable 30-14 with 3:39 remaining. However, the Hokies closed the half on an 11-2 run capped by a deep Adam Smith three-pointer at the buzzer and trailed just 32-25 at the intermission.
Things remained close in the early portions of the second half. Tech cut the lead to three-points on three occasions, the last being on a three-pointer by Ahmed Hill to make the score 39-36 with 16:10 remaining. It was a four point game after a Devin Wilson free throw with 14:08 left, but that was as close as the Hokies could get.
NC State responded with an 8-0 run to take a 51-39 lead, and the Hokies weren’t able to stay in the game at that point. The Wolfpack led by as many as 19 points before finally winning by 16.
Tech was better on the boards than in recent games, being outrebounded just 28-23. However, NC State shot 52.1% from the field, they were 10-of-26 (38.5%) from three-point range, and 9-of-11 (81.8%) from the free throw line. The Hokies were 45.8% from the field and 7-of-20 (35%) from the outside, but only attempted five free throws, making two of them.
The bigger Wolfpack team blocked five shots and only turned the ball over seven times.
The good news is that Justin Bibbs found his game. The freshman led all scorers with 19 points. He was 8-of-14 from the field and 3-of-6 from three-point range, and he also had five defensive rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Adam Smith added 15 points, while Christian Beyer had eight points and seven rebounds.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Wednesday night when they host Duke. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN2.