Virginia Tech Beats Charleston Southern On Black Friday, 69-64

Virginia Tech and Justyn Mutts had another close shave with a team from Charleston. (Jon Fleming)

In front of a solid crowd in Cassell Coliseum, Virginia Tech bounded back from its College of Charleston loss with a 69-64 win over Charleston Southern on Black Friday. It’s the fourth consecutive game decided by five points or fewer for the Hokies.

“Credit Charleston Southern,” Tech head coach Mike Young said after the win. “Those guys played a good ballgame. They’ve got a couple of kids that can really score in 12 [Claudell Harris Jr.] and 13 [Tahlik Chavez], 14 [Taje’ Kelly] is a moose in the post.

“I don’t think it was as much of my team played poorly – we weren’t great, we weren’t real good on either end. Those guys came in here to fight, and fight they did, and they’re well-coached. Having said all that, we’re supposed to win, and we did that.”

It wasn’t a pretty basketball game for the Hokies (6-1), who couldn’t pull away from the Buccaneers (2-3) over the course of 40 minutes. There were 13 ties and 10 lead changes, and Tech didn’t have its best offensive outing.

The shooting struggles from deep (9-of-46 from 3-point range in previous two games) kept up as the Hokies were just 6-of-21 from behind the arc. Grant Basile (six points) and Hunter Cattoor (eight points) each made two treys, but like the Charleston Classic, Tech scored 40 points in the paint.

Justyn Mutts led the way with 17 points, and he added nine rebounds and five assists, too. Sean Pedulla contributed 15 points while Darius Maddox added 12. The player of the night, though, was Lynn Kidd.

The junior from Gainesville, Fla. barely contributed last year in Blacksburg. He played in just 10 games for 25 total minutes. As a result, he changed his mindset in the offseason. The gym became his home and he started working out all the time. In turn, that transformed his game. And it was obvious on a night like Friday what Kidd’s impact can be.

Against the Buccaneers, Basile didn’t reach double digits for the first time in 2022-23. Tech’s second-leading scorer (14.9 ppg), Basile struggled, shooting 2-of-6. Instead, it was Kidd who Virginia Tech turned to in the tight game, and he was 5-of-9 while grabbing eight rebounds in just 15 minutes of play.

Lynn Kidd really transformed his game in the offseason, and it’s paid dividends so far this year. (Jon Fleming)

“He played a really good ball game,” Young said of Kidd. “Kept some things alive on the glass on a night when Grant didn’t have his best stuff. Five offensive rebounds, eight overall, 11 points.

“He worked [in the offseason]. I believe in basketball gods. They’re in every basketball facility. And they smile upon those that work on their game and are serious. And he had an unbelievable summer in the weight room, on the floor. … I’m proud, he’s earned everything he is getting. Not a thing has been given to him.” 

Outside of the performances of Kidd and Mutts, though, things didn’t come easy for the Hokies. They only shot 42.6% from the floor (26-of-61), were outrebounded by one (38 to 37) and couldn’t seem to finish off the Buccaneers.

Led by Barclay Radebaugh, Charleston Southern had a tough 2021-22, finishing 6-25. But the group gave Virginia Tech tough time on Friday, shooting 43.3% overall, knocking down eight 3-pointers, crashing the offensive glass and making some tough shots.

Harris Jr. (17 points), Kelly (16), Chavez (12) and Tyeree Bryan (11) each scored in double figures for the Buccaneers. They had a few explosive spurts in the second half, including a 5-0 run and a 9-2 run, and they took Tech to the wire. It helped that the Hokies missed some open looks on their offensive end.

“We were a step slow to the ball,” Young said of his team’s defense. “The ball was too comfortable. Their rhythm shots were too comfortable. We couldn’t get them under duress.”

Despite that, Virginia Tech held on for its sixth win of the year. It wasn’t pretty – the defense looked out of sync at times and shots didn’t fall – but Young likes where his group is ahead of a daunting stretch.

How will the Hokies and Mike Young fare over this tough stretch? (Jon Fleming)

Starting on Monday, the Hokies play Minnesota, North Carolina, Dayton (all at home) and Oklahoma State (Brooklyn) in a 13-day span. The Gophers and Cowboys are 4-2, the Tar Heels were No. 1 in the country before falling to Iowa State and Tech lost to Dayton last year on the road. It’s going to be an extremely demanding run of games.

“I think we are [close to where we want to be],” Young said. “We’re not that far off. We didn’t have a real good pop to us offensively tonight. The offensive part is really the least of my concerns. I’ve got a good offensive group. Still experiencing some growing pains here defensively, but we’re going to get there. They’ve got the ‘want to.'”

Box Score: Link 

21 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I hope we will change but think we will be a live by the jump shot die by the jump shot team. Not tough on defense…rebound poorly…and play so much finesse offense offense we don’t get to the free throw line.

  2. Cattoor & Maddox seem off from the end of last season. To beat top tier competition this team must hit near 40% of their 3’s. Kidd deserves more minutes.

    1. Agree, I think Kidd, who is a true inside presence needs 25 minutes a game and that will in turn open up things on the outside. Right now we simply have too many outside shooters and are getting hurt inside both in lack of points and on the boards. Rebounds or lack there of is very concerning.

      1. I would wait to see how Kidd does against better competition but agree that Basile seems to be a liability on defense and most of his offense is jump shots.

  3. Love our guys but…. We were favored by 26. Last 6 times we played this team we beat them by 27. Ranked 317 in Sagarin. We have had close games with teams we should have beaten more soundly. And teams are always able to come back on us. Hope Rice is coming back soon.

  4. Agree on the women’s schedule and coverage. I shouldn’t have to go to Hokiesports to find their schedule and even there it is not easy. Would like to see schedule and links to tv and listen….


    1. You don’t have to “go to hokiesports.” There are direct links to the women’s schedule in our menu and at the top of the WBB message board. One click, you’re there.

      1. Very convenient rather than “mining” to hokiesports. Two windows open and can go back and forth during a game. Don’t have to “backtrack” to board – already open.

  5. #14 Kelly, boy I wish he would transfer to us. He is very, very good inside. Glad to see us attack the rim, when the 3’s are not falling. GO HOKIES!!!!!!!

    1. Not the tallest inside player, but very tough and quick, I agree. I did see him do that “chicken wing” spin move at least 3 times very clearly. I guess that is not an offensive foul any more? We need to play with more confidence and toughness, but at least we were able to get the W. A bit of a trap game going into a very tough stretch of the schedule.

  6. Just to accentuate the positive, nice to see Kidd come alive here 15 pts in 15 minutes, not too shabby, especially with Mike’s encouraging words. Sure, this may be situational giving him some work against what should have been a not too tough opponent but another servicable big in there for the next two years would be great news. If threes haven’t been falling why not just work on pounding it inside when we can? OK, getting ahead of myself but fingers crossed.

  7. Agree please get that FB schedule down and in the past. It’s about 6 days too late now. Never know when the women are playing.

    1. We had Kenny on the podcast, wrote a preseason preview, and covered the first 3 games. We didn’t “cover” the last two games because (1) they were in the Bahamas; and (2) they weren’t on television.

      We literally can’t provide “much more” coverage. We’ve covered almost everything they’ve done.

  8. What is it with Charleston? Two tough games, 1 win!

    And “Com’ on man”, WBB coverage? Ladies are now 5-0, recently beating both Kentucky & Missouri…and no (NOT ANY) TSL coverage!

    Please, PLEASE replace football schedule (now that the season is over) with WBB schedule on TSL homepage!

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