Virginia Tech defeated NC State 72-58 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to improve to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. The Wolfpack dropped to 11-5 and 2-3 with the loss.
The final score indicates that the Hokies won this one fairly easily, but playing without their leading scorer and rebounder – CJ Bryce – NC State came out swinging and took an early 10-0 lead that led to Mike Young calling a timeout before the first official stop in play. Tech responded by going on a 13-0 run out of the timeout to take the lead, and this one stayed close until the closing stages.
“I thought we needed to re-calibrate some things and hit the reset button,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “Then I think we rattled off 13 points. I think it was 13-11 and kind of got the ship righted. We were in pretty good shape from that point on. I don’t have an answer for you other than we were terrible, but they got it together, not a minute too soon against an explosive team such as NC State.”
With 6:49 remaining, Tyrece Radford hit a layup to put the Hokies up 57-52, and that was the beginning of a 17-6 run to close out the game and give Tech the big home victory. The Wolfpack managed just six points over the final seven minutes of the game, and went scoreless from the 7:12 mark to the 3:55 mark.
As a team, NC State shot just 22-of-69 (31.9%) from the field and only 6-of-30 (20%) from three-point range. They came into the game ranked No. 9 nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and No. 51 in effective field goal percentage.
“It was definitely their defense,” NC State head coach Kevin Keatts said. “They do a really good job of protecting the paint. They play a similar defense as the pack line. When you drive, everybody converges, and you’re going to get those shots. We didn’t make them, we just didn’t. I thought we had some good looks and some great looks, they just didn’t go down for us.”
Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley led the Hokies with 29 points, and he also pulled down seven rebounds.
Fellow redshirt freshman Tyrece Radford had 18 points and nine rebounds, and he was 8-of-11 from the field. True freshman Jalen Cone came off the bench to score 10 points.
Young was particularly complimentary of Radford after the game.
“He’s quickly becoming, and has here for a couple of weeks now, one of those guys that affects winning. It’s hard to take him off the floor. I think he played 30 [minutes] today. He’s a very responsible defender, and he’s going to rebound on both ends. He’s not just an elite offensive rebounder, he helps our team on the defensive end every bit as much.”
“My mentality tonight was basically keep going until someone stops you,” Radford said. “I was just going to go until someone stopped me and I looked for my shot, but they did not stop me from going to the goal.”
The Hokies only committed eight turnovers, one of which was an intentional shot clock violation as they were running out the clock at the end of the game. Free throw shooting was a huge factor in Tech’s win, as they were 19-of-21 (90.5%) from the charity stripe.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Tuesday night when they travel to Wake Forest. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by The ACC Network.
Game Notes From Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
- Virginia Tech improves to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in ACC play.
- This is Tech’s first ACC home win of the season and Mike Young’s first ACC win in Blacksburg. Tech is now 9-1 on the season at home.
- Mike Young is now 2-2 against NC State and 1-0 versus Kevin Keatts.
- The Hokies have now defeated NC State for the third straight time, along with the third consecutive time at Cassell Coliseum.
- NC State is ahead in the all-time series leading 40-18. Tech has claimed the last three meetings, including the 47-24 defensive battle in Raleigh in 2019. The Hokies have won the last three games against the Wolfpack at Cassell Coliseum.
- UP NEXT: The Hokies will travel to Winston-Salem for a matchup with Wake Forest on Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 9 p.m. ET inside Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
- Virginia Tech went with Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, P.J. Horne, Landers Nolley II, and Nahiem Alleyne in their starting five. This is game No. 14 that Tech has gone with these five out of the gate, resulting in 10 out of Tech’s 12 victories. The Hokies bench has had steady production as well, averaging over 20 points a game.
- Tech got it done in transition, outscoring State 15-4 in fastbreak points.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: The Wolfpack came out the gate hot going up 10-0 early in the first half. Back-to-back 3-pointers from redshirt freshman Landers Nolley and forward P.J. Horne would spark 13-0 run to give Tech a 13-10 lead. With 2:53 left in the first, Nolley hit a triple and then made two free throws to provide Tech with a 10-point advantage. Nolley led all with 18 points and the Hokies entered the break leading 40-33.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: With just under 10 minutes of action remaining, Nolley finished off a slam dunk followed by triple and a jumper to give Tech a 55-49 advantage. Leading 55-52 with just under seven minutes left guard, Tyrece Radford scored six straight points in the paint, including a fastbreak dunk. Then freshman Nahiem Alleyne hit a 3-pointer from the corner to cap off the run and give Tech a 66-52 lead. The Hokies would not look back from this run and won 72-58.
- Tyrece Radford recorded a career-high 18 points and had his second straight nine-rebound performance.
- Landers Nolley’s 29 points is his second-highest point total of the season (30, Clemson). Nolley also grabbed seven rebounds, which is his sixth game this season with seven or more boards.
- Jalen Cone scored 10 points in the victory, which is now his fifth game reaching double figures in scoring and second straight game doing so (19, Syracuse).
- Wabissa Bede dished out seven assists in the win over NC State. Bede now has 100 total assists on the season and seven or more in seven games this season.