NC State Trumps Virginia Tech, Extending Hokies’ Losing Streak To Four

Darius Maddox and Virginia Tech came up short on Saturday night. (Ivan Morozov)

On Saturday evening in a sold-out Cassell Coliseum, NC State trumped Virginia Tech, 73-69, extending the Hokies’ losing streak to four games.

Despite an energized second half, Tech (11-5, 1-4 ACC) couldn’t complete the double-digit comeback against the Wolfpack (12-4, 3-3 ACC).

Sean Pedulla (19 points), Darius Maddox (16) and Lynn Kidd (14) led the way for VT. Four Wolfpack scored in double figures: Terquavion Smith (22 points), Jarkel Joiner (21), Casey Morsell (15) and D.J. Burns Jr. (10).

“They’re good,” Tech head coach Mike Young said after the loss. “We just couldn’t catch a break when we needed it most, down three, I think it was down to two at one point. One big stop, one big rebound. We had a couple rebounds go to the Wolfpack. I need something good to happen and it didn’t when we came down the stretch tonight.”

Mike Young and the Hokies made some plays late to give themselves a chance, but it didn’t pan out. (Ivan Morozov)

NC State roared out to a 13-2 lead in the first 3:05 of the game and never looked back. It wasn’t a tremendous shooting performance at 41.4%, but it got the job done. After shooting 45.5% in the first half, the Wolfpack found it harder to score after intermission.

Tech ramped up its defense and was more aggressive. In turn, it held the Wolfpack to 9-of-25 (36%) from the field.

“We had two or three deflections in the first half which is unconscionable,” Young said. “We had that many in the first four minutes of the second half. Just much more aggressive. We fought, we were the aggressive team in the second half. Haven’t said that many times in my time here that they were just that much more aggressive than we were in that first half.”

Smith scored 13 in the first half for Kevin Keatts & Co., who took a 36-22 lead into recess. They were also dominant on the glass all game, outrebounding Tech 38-29. In the first half, that margin was 20-12.

Kevin Keatts and NC State had a good game on the boards. (Ivan Morozov)

After struggling to generate consistent offense in the first half, the Hokies found more of a groove in the second, which went hand-in-hand with their improved defense. Justyn Mutts, Maddox and Pedulla came alive, helping Tech shoot 51.7% from the floor. They scored 37 of their 44 combined points in the second half.

Two 7-0 runs cut into the NC State lead, which was trimmed to four after a Mutts put-back dunk with 9:12 remaining. But the Wolfpack kept Tech at arm’s length until the final few minutes.

In fact, Smith scored the opening basket of the game, a trey, and NC State led three-plus points for the following 39:38. The Hokies had their chances with a minute to go, however. Despite trailing by 10, they ripped off an 8-0 run, sparked by two 3-pointers from Maddox.

Twice more NC State stretched the difference to a two-possession game; both times Tech answered, courtesy of a Pedulla layup and a Maddox triple. Two free throws from Pedulla made it a two-point game with 7.7 remaining, the closest since the opening tip, but it wasn’t enough.

Lynn Kidd and Virginia Tech had chances but couldn’t close out the game. (Ivan Morozov)

“We made plays down the stretch when we needed to,” Keatts said. “I’m proud of our guys. It’s hard to finish games, it’s hard to win games in this league and especially on the road.”

In the third game without Hunter Cattoor, who injured his left arm on Dec. 21 at Boston College, Tech was just 5-of-18 (27.8%) from downtown. Pedulla and Darius Maddox hit the lone 3-pointers on the night, and three of Maddox’s four were in the final 60 seconds. VT hasn’t shot above 30% from deep in three of its last four outings.

Virginia Tech wasn’t able to take advantage of NC State’s foul trouble either. D.J. Burns, Greg Gantt and Morsell had four while Jarkel Joiner had three. Moreover, the Wolfpack committed its 10th foul of the second half with 7:20 left. The Hokies shot just four free throws after that.

Like the previous four losses, Virginia Tech had multiple chances late. The Hokies cut the margin to three (or below) on four separate occasions in the final 60 seconds but couldn’t edge closer. Similarly, the five defeats were by a combined 16 points.

Sean Pedulla and the Hokies were in the game until the final buzzer. (Ivan Morozov)

After the loss, Young was hopeful Cattoor would return on Wednesday at Syracuse. Rice has yet to be cleared by the medical staff.

Three road games await the Hokies over the next 11 days. A trip to the JMA Wireless Dome (formerly the Carrier Dome), a place the program is 1-7 all-time, is up first. After a weekend off, Tech travels to Charlottesville for a Wednesday night class with Virginia on Jan. 18. The stretch concludes at league-leader Clemson (5-0 ACC) on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Box Score: Link

20 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I was at the ball game and could not understand how Lynn Kidd only played 14 minutes. He had 14 points (7 of 8 shooting) in the time he played but sat on the bench until the middle of the second half. I think I am correct in the observation but just wondering. He looked like he was full of energy. Play the hot shooters.

  2. The #1 problem with this team right now is 3 point shooting or lack there of, especially Maddox. I think he is shooting at a worse clip than Alleyne did last year, who would have thought that! This team also needs to toughen up, especially Basile, he needs to do more of the dirty work inside then he is right now!

  3. Our team was not prepared to keep pace with the “havoc” style of play from NCSU. Their physicality and athleticism far exceeded us. And when you are needing scoring, why would you have Camden on the court? CMY has some head scratching moments ( like end of game having Pedula dribble out the clock and then take a fall-away 3 point shot.).

  4. Very possible with Cattoor Hokies win all 4 of the last 4 – BC, WF, Clemson, NCSU as all games hung on one maybe two possessions. Team is shooting way below norm from 3 and Cattoor is arguably top 3 point threat. He is also best defender.

  5. I appreciate CMY’s optimism and he is certainly better positioned to know what the players need to perform at their best. With that said, I find some of the comments concerning as the struggles over the last 4 games are about playing well and with consistent effort. The were plenty of opportunities to win the game last night but the team struggles to execute at a consistently high level in key moments. They have the talent to win these games but have to figure out a way to put it together more consistently.

    On the coaching front, I don’t understand why they kept letting NC St force the switch on Smith from Pedulla to Mutts. They kept going to that down the stretch and we kept switching when it didn’t seem necessary giving NC St the matchup they wanted. All these little things keep adding up when there is such a small margin between winning and losing.

  6. Basile needs to be benched. Nothing but a very poor performance from him last night. Fans expecting Tech to repeat last year’s tournament performance again are smoking something. That won’t happen again for a very long time. We expected more this year but the out come is doom and gloom. So when does football season begin?

  7. I will summarize: Hokies don’t handle physicality of BC; this summation is interrepted to advise I was not able to watch WF game because of that piece of s–t RSN; Hokies don’t handle physicality of Clemson; and finally, Hokies don’t handle physicality of NCState. Anybody see a trend? CMY keeps saying “We’ll be fine.” That’s clearly coach speak because they are not fine. Unlike others, I increasingly view last year’s Championship as a fluke.

    1. last year’s ACC championship was a different team. Every team (even UNC from 21-22 to 22-23) changes significantly from year to year. There’s nothing fluke about it their performance being different year to year.

      Although I will point out, last year’s ACC Championship team was suffering a similar slide through the early conference schedule..

  8. Disappointing but confident CMY and Co will turn things around. We fans were hurting after the awful football season, and took solace in looking forward to another successful basketball season. Losing 4 straight is a cold shower. The team needs to get Cattoor back, along with its self confidence. In Mike I trust!

  9. Odds are overwhelmingly against us that we will turn things around the way we did last year. We will be at the bottom of the conference when it’s all said and done. Playing hard but just not enough to win.

  10. Why is it that Rice can’t play in games when the announcers talk about how dynamic he was on the Scott team (bragged on him big time) playing the position of Smith for NCST. If he can play full throttle on the Scott team, why not in a game!

    1. Mike Young spoke to that in the quotes in this very article.. he’s not cleared by the medical staff for full participation

      scout team situations are nowhere near as intense as a real game situation and can be structured to let a limited player contribute without going past medical advice.

  11. Maybe last minute 3s by Maddox means he’s back. Hope so. That, plus the return of Cattoor will take some pressure off of others; Padula and Basile in particular. Crazy to lose 4 games by so few total points. Keep the faith. CMY will pull the team through this, and the team will be stronger for the minutes others got and the changes that had to be made to compete while Cattoor was on the bench.

  12. Cattoor means 3+ points on O – and reduces the opponent’s points by 3. Do the math. It’s a crap shoot everywhere every night – except when Georgetown is playing a conference game!

  13. Start Kidd instead of Basile. For 4th straight game Basile has played poorly especially first half. Last night 1 point 1 reb , 2 to and completely manhandled. Might be best to come off from bench

  14. I have confidence the Hokies will bounce back, but I love Coach’s candidness: “Hunter…is not the cure all.” Nonetheless, I think his return will be a huge boost to overall team confidence.

  15. This is frustrating, but especially after last season, I refuse to think the sky is falling.

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