Virginia Tech fell to No. 5 Florida State 74-63 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The loss was the Hokies’ third in a row, and it dropped them to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in the ACC. The Seminoles improved to 18-3 overall and 8-2 in conference play.
This was a game that was mostly controlled by the Seminoles from start to finish. Tyrece Radford scored Virginia Tech’s first two buckets of the game, and the Hokies led 4-3 at the first media timeout. However, Florida State took the lead after the timeout and never relinquished it, going on to lead by as many as 16 points in the second half.
It was a five-point game at halftime, and with 17:55 remaining the Hokies had cut the deficit to 38-34. However, Florida State slowly established their dominance over the next few minutes. By the 12:14 mark, the lead had increased to 52-40, and with 9:25 remaining it was 60-44 Seminoles. The Hokies had a final run left in them when Nahiem Alleyne capped a 9-0 run with a highlight reel left-handed dunk that made the score 60-53 with 6:23 remaining. However, the Hokies allowed a dunk on FSU’s ensuing possession, and then turned the ball over, effectively ending any decent chance of a comeback.
“Nahiem [Alleyne] had the dunk to cut it back to seven, and you need to put a stop together, two stops,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “We had other opportunities to cut into it, and we couldn’t get that one big shot to go down and really get some wind under our sails.”
Radford led Tech with 18 points. He was 8-of-10 from the field, and he also pulled down six rebounds. Landers Nolley chipped in with 14 points, though his shooting woes continued. He was 5-of-16 from the field and 2-of-8 from three-point range. Hunter Cattoor scored 10 points for Virginia Tech off the bench.
Florida State ranks No. 1 in the country in average height, while the Hokies rank No. 343, so this was a game where Tech needed to have a good game from the outside. It didn’t work out that way, as they were just 7-of-30 (23.3%) from three-point range. They were 5-of-26 at one point before making two very late three-pointers after the game had already been decided.
Virginia Tech’s players kept coming back to Florida State’s length as something that made things very difficult.
“I think their length,” Radford said. “They’ve always got one person coming from behind to block the shot. It’s very hard.”
“Just their length,” Cattoor said. “They switch everything up top and guard the arc. Once you drive in, you have seven-footers coming down to block your shot.”
Having lost three in a row and four of their last five games, many are wondering if the Hokies are hitting the dreaded “freshman wall.” Mike Young acknowledged Virginia Tech’s youth, but noted that it can’t be used as an excuse, and that ultimately the Hokies control their own destiny.
“I’m not one to make excuses,” Young said. “That’s a ready-made excuse with [Nahiem] Alleyne, [Hunter] Cattoor, [John] Ojiako and [Jalen] Cone being true freshmen and then Landers [Nolley] and Boots [Tyrece Radford] redshirt freshmen. You have to find ways to win. We are in a bit of a hole here. As I told them after the game, we control everything. I think NC State lost today. I think it’s too early to look at that stuff. Play better basketball, find ways to win and come back tomorrow and fight again. Get to Georgia Tech and play a little bit better.”
Virginia Tech returns to action on Tuesday, February 4 when they travel to Georgia Tech. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by The ACC Network.
Game Notes From Virginia Tech
Record and Notables
- Virginia Tech falls to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in ACC play.
- The Hokies are now 1-1 against top-five opponents this season, with Tech being victorious over then-No. 3/3 Michigan State in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
- Florida State has defeated Tech six straight times, including their two overtime victories last season.
- Mike Young is 0-1 against the Seminoles and Leonard Hamilton.
- The Hokies last defeated the Seminoles in 2016 in Washington, D.C. and last took down FSU in Blacksburg in 2016.
- Florida State leads the all-time series 36-22.
- UP NEXT: The Hokies will travel to Atlanta for a matchup with Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. ET inside McCamish Pavilion.
- Virginia Tech started a lineup of Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, Landers Nolley, P.J. Horne, and Nahiem Alleyne, marking the 16th game this season that Tech has gone with these five out of the gate.
- The Seminoles hit 10 3s, which is the most a team has made against Tech since Duke drilled 13 on Dec. 6. It’s just the fourth time this season an opponent has hit double digit 3s versus the Hokies.
- FSU outrebounded Tech 33-30, but the Hokies outscored the Seminoles 32-28 in paint points.
- The Seminoles’ bench outscored Tech’s bench 25-17. The Hokies bench scored below 20 points for just the 10th time this year.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: Hunter Cattoor drilled two big back-to-back three-pointers to cut into the deficit and make the score 20-19 FSU with 6:45 left in the first half.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: With just under 18 minutes to go in the second, the Seminoles went on an 8-2 run, giving them a 46-36 advantage. The Seminoles nailed a triple with just over a minute to go in the action to make the score 70-55 with FSU leading. Florida State would go on to win 74-63.
- Tyrece Radford scored a team-high 18 points and led Tech in scoring for the second time this season. This is Radford’s eighth game scoring in double figures and second straight game doing so.
- Landers Nolley’s 14 points marks his 20th game scoring in double figures and 10th consecutive outing reaching double digits in points.
- Hunter Cattoor scored 10 points, marking his highest-scoring performance since he recorded 17 against Maryland Eastern Shore on Dec. 21. This is Cattoor’s seventh double-digit points performance.
- Wabissa Bede dished out six assists against Florida State, giving Bede 30 assists over the last five games for 6.0 assists per game average during that stretch.