Virginia Tech struggled offensively but held on to defeat Chattanooga 63-58 in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night to improve to 7-3 on the season. The Mocs dropped to 6-5.
Tech led for 26:11 of the 40 minute game, but the Hokies found themselves trailing 51-47 with 5:23 remaining. However, a three-pointer and two free throws by Nahiem Alleyne put Tech back up 52-51, and they never trailed again. They led by as many as eight points down the stretch before two more Alleyne free throws iced the game in the final seconds.
Alleyne, a true freshman from Georgia, led the Hokies with 22 points. He was 7-of-13 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. Fellow Georgian Landers Nolley had 19 points in the win, though he was only 1-of-7 from the outside and 7-of-20 overall. Junior point guard Wabissa Bede pulled down eight rebounds and had seven assists to go along with seven points.
Tyrece Radford chipped in with eight points and seven rebounds, including four offensive rebounds, which seem to be his specialty. He was also given the task of guarding Chattanooga’s Matt Ryan, a one-time Notre Dame player, who averaged 15 points per game and had scored in double figures in all but one game this season. Ryan finished with two points on 1-of-7 shooting.
“We didn’t move very well, but to my team’s credit I thought they worked very hard and were very responsible,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “We didn’t trap the post very well tonight and that bothers me, we will figure that out on film.”
Virginia Tech had a short bench because true freshman guard Hunter Cattoor had a slight ankle injury. He could have played if needed, but he was given the night off, and he won’t practice on Thursday in an effort to get him healthy for Sunday’s game. With Cattoor out, the Hokies played just three bench players, with only Jalen Cone playing double digit minutes with 14 (three points). John Ojiako played five minutes, and Isaiah Wilkins played seven.
Mike Young wasn’t completely happy with his team’s performance offensively, but admitted that no team plays its best basketball each and every night.
“This isn’t the NBA, we aren’t playing 82 games,” Young said. “We are playing 35, 36, 37 if we are fortunate enough to go to the post season. It is not always easy to load that gun and play your best night in and night out. We did not play our best game – a lot of that is attributed to Chattanooga – they played a good ball game.”
The Hokies are also going through exams right now, with the younger players going through this routine for the first time.
“Everybody is having a major headache,” Wabissa Bede said. “We’re trying to study [for final exams], but also study scouting reports. There is so much going on right now. These two weeks are the hardest weeks. We just have to grind through it and keep playing hard.”
Virginia Tech returns to action on Sunday when they host Gardner-Webb. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30pm, and the game can be seen online on ACC Network Extra.
Game Notes From Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
- Virginia Tech improves to 7-3 overall with the victory over the Mocs, and Tech remains 1-1 in ACC play.
- Landers Nolley ranks fifth in the ACC in points averaging 18.6 per game. Wabissa Bede ranks second in the ACC in assists with seven per game.
- Virginia Tech is now tied with Chattanooga in the all-time series 2-2. The Mocs won in 1922 and 2000. The Hokies won the last matchup 63-59 in 2004 and tonight 63-58.
- UP NEXT: The Hokies will play host to Gardner-Webb on Dec. 15 at 1:30 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.
- Virginia Tech used the starting lineup of Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, P.J. Horne, Landers Nolley II, and Nahiem Alleyne. This is the eighth straight game the Hokies have started these five, resulting in five victories.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: Tech led 21-19 with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half. Forward Landers Nolley hit a jumper and freshman John Ojiako slammed it home to spark a 9-2 run and push Tech’s lead to 30-21. This advantage would help give the Hokies a 32-28 entering the half. Freshman Nahiem Alleyne scored 13 points in the first half, which is his highest point total in the first half this season.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: Trailing 51-47, Alleyne hit a triple and sunk two critical free throws to give Tech a 52-51 advantage with a little over three minutes of action left. With just under two minutes left, Tyrece Radford laid it in and Bede drilled a clutch 3 to give Tech a 59-53 lead. This run would propel the Hokies to a 63-58 victory.
- Alleyne scored a team-high 22 points for the Hokies. This the second time this season Alleyne has lead Tech in scoring both games resulting in wins.
- Nahiem Alleyne scored a career-high 22 points in the victory over Chattanooga. Alleyne now has two 20-plus scoring performances this season.
- Landers Nolley scored 19 points against the Mocs and has now scored in double-figures in every game this season but one (Duke, Dec. 6).
- Wabissa Bede dished out seven assists and now has 70 assists through 10 games.
- Tyrece Radford grabbed seven rebounds, marking his second straight game with as many rebounds. The redshirt freshman guard now has 54 boards through 10 games and is second on the team in boards averaging 5.4.