In a stark contrast from Saturday’s win over Duke, #21 Virginia Tech never led in 40 minutes of basketball against NC State. The Wolfpack hammered the Hokies 104-78 on Wednesday night. Tech dropped to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in the ACC, while NC State improved to 12-3 and 1-1.
NC State came out scorching hot from the field, shooting 69.7% in the first half. They didn’t cool off much in the second half, shooting 58.1%. For the game, they were 41-of-64 (64.1%). They rode their hot-shooting first half to a 55-30 halftime lead, and the game was effectively over at that point despite a 10-0 VT run to start the second half.
The hot Wolfpack offense was aided by porous Tech defense throughout the night. NC State got to the basket at will and had numerous open looks from three-point range. They had more energy than the Hokies from the opening tip.
Virginia Tech dished out 18 assists in the game, which is a big number, but they also committed an uncharacteristic 21 turnovers. Coming into the game, Tech was #16 in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio, but obviously that number will take a hit after Wednesday night’s game.
Four Hokies scored in double figures, led by Ahmed Hill’s 17. Chris Clarke had the best overall game of all Tech players, finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists, but it was all for naught. Tech played poorly on the offensive end in the first half, and they let it affect them on the defensive end against a very good offensive team.
NC State was led by future NBA lottery pick Dennis Smith, who had a triple double. Smith finished with 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, and while he did commit five turnovers (NC State had 17 turnovers as a team) it didn’t matter because the Hokies played a poor game.
Zach LeDay made his first start of the season in place of Khadim Sy, who was injured during the pre-game shootaround. The extent of Sy’s injury is not known. To make matters worse, Buzz Williams sent senior guard Seth Allen off the court with approximately eight minutes remaining to be checked for a concussion. If Sy and Allen can’t play this weekend against Florida State, the Hokies will go into that game with a 6-man rotation.
Tech’s game with #12 Florida State tips off at 2pm on Saturday, and it will be televised by The ACC Network. Check your local listings.