Virginia Tech Beats Clemson 67-60 In Mike Young’s Debut

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Landers Nolley, Virginia Tech
Landers Nolley (right) had 30 points in his Virginia Tech debut. (Ivan Morozov)

Mike Young picked up career win No. 300, and win No. 1 at Virginia Tech, in the Hokies’ 67-60 victory at Clemson on Tuesday night.  Tech begins the season 1-0, with a road victory in the ACC, and the Tigers begin their 2019-20 campaign 0-1.

The story of the night was redshirt freshman wing Landers Nolley.  Nolley had to sit out last season and watch Virginia Tech’s run to the Sweet 16, but he had a huge night in his college debut.  He scored 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting.  He was 4-of-8 from three-point range.  He also had five rebounds and two steals in 37 minutes.  Though at times he forced the action and had five turnovers, he was the best player on the court for either team.

Nolley’s 30 points were the most ever by a Virginia Tech freshman in his college debut.  Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 24 points against Detroit Mercy in his debut two seasons ago.

The ACC Digital Network put together a highlight package for Nolley:

Junior point guard Wabissa Bede, Virginia Tech’s most experienced player, had seven points, a team-high eight rebounds, and dished out six assists.  He had a late turnover that nearly turned the back in Clemson’s favor, but he responded with a huge block on a three-point attempt with 45 seconds remaining and with the Hokies clinging to a 60-57 lead.  Tech turned the block into a breakaway layup by redshirt freshman Tyrece Radford to make the score 62-57.

Free throw shooting down the stretch was also key.  The Hokies made 13 consecutive free throws over the final 9:09 before a miss by Bede with 13 seconds remaining.  That was a big turnaround, considering Tech made just one of its first six free throw attempts.

The smallish Virginia Tech team, which started 6-6 PJ Horne at center, outrebounded Clemson 44-36.  Tech beat the Tigers 9-8 on the offensive glass, and won the second chance points battle 10-7.  The Hokie bench also outscored the Clemson bench 18-5, with true freshman Nahiem Alleyne scoring 11 points in his college debut.  He was just 2-of-9 from the field, but he was 5-of-6 from the free throw line, and make some clutch free throws down the stretch.

PJ Horne added eight points and seven rebound in 36 minutes despite facing much bigger competition in the paint.

The Clemson Tigers had a horrible shooting night, especially in the second half.  They were 22-of-64 (34.4%) from the field, 7-of-29 (24.1%) from three-point range, and 9-of-15 (60%) from the free throw line for the game.  The second half was even worse, as they shot just 23.3% from the field and were only 1-of-14 (7.1%) from three-point range.  The Hokies were 14-of-18 (77.8%) from the free throw line in the second half, whereas Clemson was just 8-of-14 (57.1%), and that was one of the main factor’s in Tech’s win, along with their prowess on the defensive glass.

Virginia Tech returns to action on Friday night when they host Coppin State at 7pm in Cassell Coliseum.  The game can be see online on ACC Network Extra.  The Eagles are coached by former Maryland player and National Champion Juan Dixon.

Virginia Tech-Clemson Box Score

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33 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Great game and great start to season. ANY road win in ACC is hard to get. However let’s please temper expectations. They should remain as they were before this game. It’s going to be a long year at best. So let’s remember to not get to high after a W or too low after a L .

  2. I will always wonder how good CY’s 1st Team would have been if he could have retained K Blacksheer . He showed us last night the kind of impact he could have had.

  3. Watching Bede last night I couldn’t help but think of Al Young. The athleticism with impressive. And I was impressed that Bede didn’t try to force things from the PG position.

    Clemson may not be particularly good this year but any ACC win on the road is impressive and to do that in the first game of the season and VT coaching career is outstanding! I was particularly impressed with the 2nd half FT shooting. CY is starting off with a bang!

  4. I guess I am not the only one to be so pleasantly surprised with Nolley’s great start, but can someone tell me why he was denied to play last year? Can you imagine his contribution to that team? Another 3 point shooter and relatively tall by BW standards?
    Young is the man who loves VT like we do, and that feels so so good!

    1. I thought Tech could’ve been a final 4 team “IF” we would’ve had Nolley and Clarke last season and Robinson was healthy all season, but that seems to be Tech’s luck in all sports. Maybe one day all things will come together and Tech will win a NCAA team national championship in a sport.

    2. he was an NCAA Academic Red-shirt last season, which is kind of like the old Partial Qualifier status.

      Basically he was academically ineligible for one season and he had to get good grades in college (which he did) to regain regular eligibility.

  5. they looked very good and played well ! nice victory for Young. The announcers painted a bleat picture for tech all night talking about youth, inexperience and size , except the last 5 minutes.
    what a way to start the year.

  6. Very exciting. Nolly is an unexpected (for me) surprise. Looks like the young Hokies are well-conditioned since their second half was outstanding in terms of effort and decent shooting, while one would wonder about Clemson’s falloff in terms of both Tech’s defense in the second half and their conditioning. Bede is a good floor general. Very encouraging start. A.H.

  7. Wonderful start. First game, new coach, new players, new chemistry. What I saw that is key is the will to win. The team played clutch in the last 3 minutes of the game. Tough to coach that, but it appears Coach Young has this team with great attitude. After bad calls, they just got up and went on. No pouting. Only one game, but impressive start.

  8. You take any win you get. But man Clemson shot horribly as CC said. They shoulda been up 10-12 points in that stretch where we didn’t get a FG in 7+ minutes.

    Go Hokies

    1. I gotta give at least partial credit to great hustle and effort on D by the Hokies. Clemson missed some open shots but most of their misses were contested.

  9. First time at Littlejohn Coliseum for me and what a treat that was. Didn’t expect much from this team and was thrilled to win an ACC road game to start the season. I don’t know why Clemson didn’t try more things to deny Nolley the ball and force someone else to take shots. The rest of the team shot a dismal 10/34 from the field. Horne’s late dunk was epic. I was disappointed that we didn’t get more offense from Bede and Wilkins (foul trouble limited Wilkins’ minutes but still) and wonder where the points are going to come from when Nolley can’t score 30. Cattoor looked overwhelmed at times. I am guessing he is a 3-pt. threat but he missed all 3 of his shots and his only contribution in 27 minutes was 4 rebounds. Clemson missed a lot of makeable shots but I hope their horrible shooting was in part due to good defense because we will need that to stay in games against better teams.

    1. First game against a “real” team. Should have time to work out the kinks with the next few games on the schedule.

  10. MY, way to start with your Young Team. This Bobcat is glad to see you Home . Whit got this one right..Go Hokies..

  11. What a great start. After being left with a very bad hand to play in April, Mike Young and the staff he put together, have already surpassed all expectations for 2019!

  12. I’m so proud of our basketball and football teams. The players on each team play so well together. for Thanks for coming to Virginia Tech.

  13. Good job, guys. Tip of the cap to the Big Whistle and all the players.

    First step on a long road but y’all done good.

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