Despite an explosive second half from Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech pulled out a gutsy win in the Barclays Center on Sunday in Brooklyn, holding off the Cowboys 70-65.
Trailing 34-25 at halftime, Oklahoma State (6-4) started the second half 7-of-11 and had a 21-8 run that stunned the Hokies (10-1, 1-0 ACC). Over that stretch, Mike Young’s crew was an abysmal 2-of-15 from the floor.
Cowboys center Moussa Cisse made a free throw out of the 12-minute media timeout in the second half to extend his team’s lead to five, 47-42. From there, however, it was all Hokies.
Over the remaining 11:25, Tech held OSU to 4-of-14 from the floor and forced six turnovers. At the same time, it retook the lead and found its rhythm offensively, outscoring the Cowboys 28-19 and hitting 7-of-11 shots.
Three Hokies scored in double figures, led by Sean Pedulla’s 16. Tech’s leading scorer, who grew up less than an hour from Oklahoma State in Stillwater and considered joining Mike Boynton’s program, was 6-of-16 with five rebounds and four assists to just one turnover.
Grant Basile contributed 13 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Tech’s second-leading scorer, who posted 23 points and 10 rebounds vs. Dayton on Wednesday, was a huge factor. He was one of a number of bodies Young placed on Cisse defensively, and as a collective, the Hokies held the 7-1 junior to 12 points and seven rebounds.
In doing so, Justyn Mutts spent a large portion of the game in foul trouble. In 26 minutes, he finished with 13 points, six steals, four assists and four rebounds. The six swipes are the most by a Tech player since Nickeil Alexander-Walker had six at Miami in January 2019.
When Mutts wasn’t on the floor, though, the bench came in clutch. Mylyjael Poteat, the Rice transfer, posted eight points and six rebounds in 15 minutes. Six of his points came from the free throw line, where he was 6-of-6. On the year, he’s statistically Tech’s best shooter from the charity stripe at 17-of-19 (89.5%).
He and Lynn Kidd (two points, two rebounds in 10 minutes) helped limit the Cowboys to just 28 points in the paint.
Avery Anderson III and Kalib Boone each scored 15 points to lead Oklahoma State. As a team, the Cowboys grabbed one more rebound than the Hokies, 38-37. They finished with 14 assists to 17 turnovers, though.
On the flip side, Virginia Tech had 12 assists to 10 turnovers on 66 possessions. Entering Sunday, the program ranked first in D-I in turnover percentage at 13%.
Young & Co. also found success in a rare area against the Pokes: the foul line. Before the trip to Brooklyn, the season highs were 15 free throw makes (twice – Delaware State, Old Dominion) and 21 attempts (ODU). In a rock fight in the Barclays Center, the location of the team’s 2022 ACC championship, Tech was 19-of-24 from the line (79.2%). Both numbers are season-highs.
The Hokies, who should be ranked in Monday’s AP Top 25, are in action next on Saturday vs. Grambling State. It’s the second all-time meeting in the series – the first came in 2015 in an 87-52 win for Tech. With a road trip to Boston College around the corner on Dec. 21, the clash with the Tigers is the last tune-up for the Hokies before ACC play completely takes over.
Box Score: Link