Virginia Tech Basketball’s Season Concludes In NIT Loss At Cincinnati

Justyn Mutts and the Hokies couldn’t rally against Cincinnati on Wednesday night. (Virginia Tech athletics)

On Wednesday night in Ohio, the 2022-23 season came to a close for Virginia Tech. The Hokies fought with Cincinnati for 40 minutes but fell short in the first round of the NIT, 81-72.

In his final collegiate game, Justyn Mutts led Tech (19-15, 8-12 ACC) in scoring with 19 points. He was 9-of-12 from the floor while grabbing six rebounds, and 11 of his points came in the second half. Grant Basile also chipped in 17 points and corralled seven boards.

The Hokies shot 45.5% from the floor, but it was in other places where they fell off. They only made six of their 26 3-point attempts (23%), shot just eight free throws to Cincinnati’s 20 and were outrebounded by 13, 42-29.

And the Bearcats’ pressure got to them in the second half, too. After just two turnovers in the first 20 minutes, Tech gave it away six times after intermission. There were some spurts of sloppy basketball, and Mike Young’s crew never fully regained control of the game. Cincinnati (22-12, 11-7 AAC) snatched the lead back with 12:44 remaining and was comfortable the rest of the way.

Hunter Cattoor had some good looks that just didn’t fall for the Hokies at Cincinnati. (Virginia Tech athletics)

Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla also scored in double figures for VT, though like their teammates, they struggled to get going for much of the game. Despite finishing 3-of-7 from deep, Cattoor missed his first four attempts from distance, most of them open looks. Basile and Pedulla each had a few in the waning moments, which would’ve drawn Tech closer, but couldn’t capitalize. Cattoor and Pedulla scored 13 and 10, respectively. 

Four of Cincinnati’s five starters scored in double figures, led by David DeJulius. He was everywhere, scoring 21 points, dishing out seven assists while adding six rebounds. He also got to the free throw line often, making nine of his 11 attempts.

Former Hokie Landers Nolley had the game’s lone double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, though he was limited in the first half thanks to solid defense from Cattoor. Mika Adams-Woods and Ody Oguama scored 10 each, and one of the biggest contributions came from Jeremiah Davenport’s 12 points off the bench.

Virginia Tech led by four at the break, 33-29. But Cincinnati found its shooting touch in the second half while turning on the pressure, which forced Tech into some tough spots. The Hokies were better in spurts but couldn’t take full control of the contest. And when they needed a run down the stretch, the Bearcats outscored them 9-4 over the final three minutes.

23 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. With average guard play, we win that game. I think we won every game in which the guards played good-to-excellent. We won most games where the guard play was average-to-good. We lost almost every game where guard play was like last night. We need better guard play. Of course, losing Basile and Catoor, we may also need better Forward play. And then there’s Center… aaaaak.

  2. This season was like riding down a country road when I grew up: Stretches of smooth sailing interrupted by catastrophic potholes that made you hang on…and occasionally running through an exhilarating crick. In the end, you just wanted more!! Thank you, team, you gave us so much, no matter our aspirations!!

    1. I like the analogy of a country road. Every game was some uphill climbs and some downhill coasts with the twisty curves in between. Only 2 bad games (at Duke & State in G’boro). I enjoyed watching a lot of great plays and beating Duke and UVa in Cassell with the awesome environments. Mostly, they gave great efforts. I think next year will be really good.

  3. The most frustrating aspect of the season (to me) was the team’s inconsistency. The two most important shooters on the team, Cattoor & Pedulla, were very inconsistent from range all season. Never knew from game to game if they would be on. CMY had to be frustrated by this…can’t really coach up consistency

    1. I agree. Consistency is the hardest thing to coach in any sport. It’s the hardest thing to maintain in our daily lives. Each day you go to work, your effectivity is not the same. Could depend on how much you partied the night before. Seriously; if a Coach could figure out a way to coach consistency besides just telling the player to be consistent, they would be rich.

      Shooting from range is a skill that is hard to maintain like tonight. Now, what frustrated me the most during the season was how many snow birds (wide open shots) under the basket that we missed. That should be the easiest skill to maintain night after night.

    2. THe danger of relying on outside shooting as the main component of an offense: Cattoor, Pedulla, Basile, Rice were all primarily going to be 3-pt shooters. I know it is part of the modern game and 4s and 5s want to shoot 3s. We shot 26 3s last night… Mutts was a leading score because he was around the basket. Basile should have been around the basket more. When complain about the lack of foul calls…part of it is because we are an outside shooting team that does not threaten the lane as much as we should.

    3. Any team whose offensive philosophy depends on 3-pt shooting is going to be inconsistent. Long-term success is built on good defense and rebounding, coupled with ball movement to find short & mid-range open looks on offense.

  4. As expressed by others, while I will miss Mutts, and potentially Catoor, mercifully this season is finally over. Although Tech has some interesting young players, I am now convinced tourney run last year was a fluke and we can expect similar seasons as this one. Question is, how many yrs will Whit tolerate these kinds of results before finding a P5 capable coach.

    1. LOL… that’s a quick transition to making this about Whit.

      Unlike you, I am not convinced that Mike Young will not be able to be an elite coach in the ACC. This year was tough. Made even tougher because we had expectation and we could see this team’s potential at times. I’m looking forward to a better season next year. I am nowhere near giving up on Mike Young. In fact, I thank Whit for making an excellent hire for men’s and women’s hoops.

    2. Seriously ?!???? Could you be more (a) negative and (b) unrealistic? All the sudden, you’ve ruled all of last year a *fluke*, Coach Young is mediocre and now Whit is searching for a real coach. Just head-spinningly screwed up to even go there.

    3. For Whit, he will evaluate whether or not the program is competitive and making regular trips to the NCAA tournament. No fan base will be satisfied with not getting in the NCAAT with regularity. Right now Whit doesn’t need to have that concern. CMY’s team has made it twice in four years, and overall I’d say his teams have been competitive. And, IMO CMY having an ACCT championship doesn’t hurt whether fans think it’s a fluke or not. But if CMY keeps batting .500 on making the NCAAT Whit will probably be thrilled to keep him.

      Now we have to see what happens next season, and Whit will go from there. CMY is having good recruiting success with BR, JY, and AS (for 2024) and seems to have a great shot at landing Tyler Nickel out of the portal. So he should be looking pretty solid to Whit with a good chance to keep making the NCAAT at a .500 clip.

  5. Mutts/Basille 15 for 25 excellent; Pedulla 5 for 14 1 for 6 threes- lousy; Rice 3 for 11, 1 for 6 threes-not very good Cattoor 5 for 11, 3 for 7 threes-not bad

  6. Sorry to see the season end. The team played with great effort and heart last night.

    The lack of perimeter athleticism, however, is glaring. When the threes aren’t falling (which seemed like most of the year), the guards and small forward position are unable to get to the rim on their own without a defensive breakdown. We have to get faster guards and a real swing man if we are going to do better next year.
    I was hoping for a better season, but Pedulla and Catoor are always gassed from ball handling and defensive effort, which affects their shooting, and Collins takes too many last second shots he almost never makes. Rice looks like he will be a very good player, but isn’t there yet. On to the off-season. I will be back watching every game next year, hoping for a better result.

    Now, it’s the women’s team’s time to shine. Go Hokies!

  7. Season to forget that is for sure.

    Our hopeful expectations of improving off of our ACCC should be tampered. We are what we are, and will continue as such. Most years, just a middle of the road ACC team, with a better than average years every so often.

    1. We are at that level partially because we do not cater to the “one-and-done” recruits, which is fine in my opinion. Duke and UNC have not helped their school’s reputation by attracting those recruits, unless all you care about is winning. I think we are, and can be better than average in the ACC. The NCAA needs to work on the one and done thing, which comes with no academic requirements or responsibilities.

  8. Basile, Pedulla, and Rice had plenty of open looks from outside late in the game that bounced off the rim.

    DeJulius played a great game, but 6 of his FT came during that stretch late in the game when we couldn’t hit 3’s and had to foul to extend the game. I wish there was an easy way to split out “live” FT’s and “intentional” FT’s

  9. I will certainly miss those players moving on but have to agree, disappointing across the board. Just not sure where we are really as a team. We had one big run last year but before and since really nothing but middle of the road at best.

  10. Very disappointing season. Was Keve Alumi irreplaceable? Sure looked like it the 2nd half of the season. Go Lady Hokies🏀🏀

    1. I agree very disappointing but this is a flawed roster to compete in a P5 conference. Too small, too slow, & too unathletic.

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