Virginia Tech dropped its second consecutive conference game on the road at Florida State on Saturday, losing 77-74. It’s the fourth time in Mike Young’s five seasons that Tech is below .500 in ACC play through three games.
The Hokies (9-5, 1-2 ACC) controlled the game for three-fourths of the afternoon and led by as many as nine points but let the lead slip away late. They trailed by 10 points with over two minutes remaining, and though it came down to the final possession, the Seminoles (8-6, 2-1) came away victorious.
Tech hit 11 3-pointers in the win (11-of-23, 48%) and received big contributions in the backcourt, but frontcourt production was lacking, and against a lengthy FSU team, it was the difference. The Hokies technically won the battle on the glass (35-32) and limited the ‘Noles to three treys but struggled for stretches that came back to bite. Specifically, Leonard Hamilton’s club had a 14-0 run over three-plus minutes that flipped the game on its head.
Tech had a 7-0 stretch in the final 75 seconds that tied things up at 74 with five ticks left. All of that came from junior point guard Sean Pedulla, who scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including 3-of-6 from three, while adding two rebounds, two assists and turning it over four times.
He gave the Hokies a fighting chance at the buzzer, but Seminoles guard Primo Spears drove to the rim and drew contact from Hunter Cattoor with 1.2 remaining. He made two foul shots, which sealed the game.
Is that a foul on Cattoor? pic.twitter.com/B2SC3mlYxH
— Damien Sordelett (@DamienSordelett) January 6, 2024
Cattoor finished with 19 points, more than any FSU player, and made five of his six 3-point attempts. In his last two trips to Tallahassee, he’s 14-of-17 from behind the arc with 46 points. He added five rebounds too.
Tech guards MJ Collins and Tyler Nickel also had productive outings. Collins scored 10 points and made two of his five threes while corralling four boards. Nickel had nine points, which included one three and four free throws.
The Hokies struggled on the interior, however. Their frontcourt of Lynn Kidd, Mekhi Long, Robbie Beran and Mylyjael Poteat combined for just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Though they had 21 of the team’s 35 rebounds, they weren’t scoring threats — even Kidd, who has been a go-to double-digit scorer this season.
Tech shot the ball well enough but did not take care of it. For the second straight outing, it logged more than 15 turnovers. Ten of those came in the second half in Tallahassee; for comparison, the Seminoles only turned it over 10 times for the entire game. FSU used a full-court press for the majority of the afternoon, which took the Hokies out of rhythm at times.
Tech also didn’t fare well at the charity stripe. After entering the day ranked sixth in free throw shooting at 79 percent, the Hokies went 13-of-20 (65%). Florida State got to the line often and made 18-of-29 attempts.
Twelve players saw action for FSU, typical of a Hamilton-coached team. All but two of them scored, four of which were in double figures: Spears, Cameron Corhen, Jaylan Gainey (11 points each) and Darin Green Jr. (10 points). Baba Miller and Jamir Watkins chipped in eight, Taylor Bol Bowen had six and Jalen Warley and De’Ante Green had five apiece.
Miller and Watkins were the most effective players for the ‘Noles. The former had 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals while the latter grabbed eight boards and dished out four assists.
The Hokies are back at home on Wednesday evening vs. No. 16 Clemson (7 p.m. ET on ESPN/2/U) before a Saturday clash with Miami. The Tigers took both meetings last season.
Box Score: Florida State 77, Virginia Tech 74