Virginia Tech Beats Georgia Tech For Third Consecutive ACC Win

Mylyjael Poteat and Virginia Tech dominated Georgia Tech on Saturday. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech was great offensively and used a big first half to power past Georgia Tech on Saturday in Cassell Coliseum, 91-67, for its third consecutive ACC win.

“On a nightly basis, anyone can step up and I think that makes us really dangerous,” Hokies forward Robbie Beran said afterwards.

The Hokies (13-7, 5-4 ACC) were fantastic in the paint against the Yellow Jackets (9-11, 2-7). Though forward Mekhi Long missed his second straight outing with a knee injury, the frontcourt of Lynn Kidd, Mylyjael Poteat and Robbie Beran combined for 50 points, 19 rebounds and 17-of-25 shooting (68%).

Kidd (18 points, four rebounds) and Poteat (career-high 18 points, six rebounds) combined for 36 points and 10 boards at the five. Beran had 14 points and nine boards, both season-high marks, which included a second-half 3-pointer. As a group, the trio was 15-of-16 from the free throw line, too.

“Hard to ask much more,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “… Robbie Beran is shooting the ball really, really well. They’re hard to handle one-on-one. They’re big, they’re different. Mylyjael moves very well for a big person. Lynn is really athletic vertically. It’s a great inside-outside punch and I’m enjoying watching them play.”

The Hokies had five players score in double figures in the victory, which did not include point guard Sean Pedulla, who entered the game averaging a team-best 16.1 points per game. With the production from the bigs, his scoring wasn’t necessary, and he finished with nine points, five assists, two rebounds and just one turnover. Young said he played “great.”

Robbie Beran and Virginia Tech didn’t have to rely on Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor vs. Georgia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

Hunter Cattoor and Tyler Nickel had 11 points each while MJ Collins chipped in seven. Cattoor, Nickel and Pedulla were a combined 9-of-18 from 3-point range while Collins hit one of his four. As a team, VT shot 44% (12-of-27) from long range.

“We just have so many different weapons that it’s hard to gameplan,” Beran said. “Sean and Hunter, … once they kind of dish it out, it opens up driving lanes and they can get to their spots a little bit easier. But they’re 1A and 1B on the scouting report every single night, and probably warranted, but draw a lot of focus.”

Virginia Tech started the game well and led by double digits after eight-plus minutes. It had three separate runs of 10-0, 10-0 and 6-0 before intermission in a span of 7:58. While it shot 52 percent offensively, paced by Poteat’s 12 first-half points that led all scorers, it held the Yellow Jackets to 29 percent from the floor.

Georgia Tech, led by Baye Ndongo’s 16 points and nine rebounds along with Miles Kelly’s 11 points, cut into the margin in the second half and got it down to seven with 7:57 remaining, though it was stonewalled from there. It shot 47 percent in the second half while VT was 60 percent.

When the Yellow Jackets crept back into the game, Cassell Coliseum grew quiet, waiting for the Hokies to respond, but they had a five-minute field goal drought that GT turned into an 11-2 run. It all changed after Young’s timeout with 7:48 remaining, however.

“It was a matter of getting them settled,” Young said. “’Everything’s fine. What’s next?’ We’d had a couple of uncharacteristic offensive possessions, the ball didn’t move as well. Just get it re-centered, a little tweak in the ball-screen coverage. Cool your jets, all right? We’re A-OK around here. This thing’s a game of runs, they’ve got a good team, they’ve got good players, we’ll figure it out and that’s exactly what we did.”

Mylyjael Poteat and Virginia Tech were good defensively against the Yellow Jackets. (Ivan Morozov)

In a span of just over 90 seconds, Virginia Tech knocked down three treys — two from Pedulla and one from Cattoor. Though that duo only combined for 20 points, it was clutch when called upon. That, combined with a scoreless stretch of four-plus minutes for Georgia Tech and a ferocious dunk from Poteat with 4:34 remaining, the game quickly turned on its head.

What was once a seven-point contest turned into an 18-point one, and the Hokies cruised from there. Threes from John Camden and Nickel in the final 61 seconds were icing on the cake.

They shot above 49 percent for the third straight game, which also happened to be their third consecutive win, and held an opponent below 40 percent for the first time in ACC play this season. Offensively, they shared the ball well, tallying 23 assists on 32 baskets. Moreover, turnovers — which were an issue in the first six games to start 2024 — were limited to just seven.

Young: “There wasn’t a lot I didn’t like.”

The head man was overjoyed with how his team played connected and cohesive basketball, especially how they shared the rock. The ball did the work, and Virginia Tech showed it can win when Cattoor and Pedulla aren’t carrying the offense. It’s the team’s second ACC victory this season in which that duo was held to 20 or fewer points, joining the Louisville game in December.

Beran said it comes back to being unselfish. The Hokies made a number of those types of plays against Georgia Tech, often driving to the rim before laying it off to one of the bigs for an uncontested dunk or layup. Pedulla and Kidd did just that early in the second half; Collins and Poteat had a similar play with 4:34 remaining.

Lynn Kidd and Virginia Tech shared the ball well vs. Georgia Tech. (Ivan Morozov)

“I think it’s just a lot of selflessness, patting the other guys on the back, not really caring where it comes from,” Poteat said. “Just really being there for your teammate, knowing that you’re going to have somebody out there on your back too.”

“It’s funny how the game of basketball works,” Beran added. “You make that easy play, the ball will find you. … Knowing that when Sean takes a shot or when Hunt takes a shot, it’s not their shot; it’s our shot.”

The Hokies are back in front of the Cassell Guard again on Monday night for a 7 p.m. ET clash with No. 12 Duke on ESPN. They’ve won five of their last six at home against the Blue Devils, including a three-point victory last season.

For a Virginia Tech squad that entered Saturday with a 1-5 record in Quadrant 1 games and 3-2 in Quadrant 2, a good result against the Blue Devils — which would be its fourth in a row — would help shape its résumé for March. After Saturday’s games, VT is in a four-way tie for sixth in the league at 5-4 with Miami, NC State and Syracuse.

“A really good team coming to town,” Young said. “We’re going to have to play well to win, we all understand that, but let’s load it up and let’s play the right way again and compete our tails off and find a way to win another one.”

Box Score: Virginia Tech 91, Georgia Tech 67

11 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Tylernubkelatthefoyushelpingaswell seems tone a mor natural fit. He defends rthatpisotionwelm. Hppehegetoreoppsyhere

  2. I’m wondering if we’ll see the front court of Poteat, Beran and Kidd together more, even when Long is healthy?
    I hope so, that trio compliments each other…

  3. Beran’s best game as a Hokie! And Mylyjael was awesome! We can beat Duke if we play that cohesively on both ends Monday night.

    One more thought. Can Cattoor play in the NBA? Everyone knows about his shooting, but his defensive quickness is exceptional too. Hmmm.

    1. I think he would find a lot more success overseas. I think he would have a hard time attacking NBA defense off the dribble, which, as much of the game is focused on the three point line nowadays, is an skill you would need to have to see any serious NBA playing time. I bet he finds himself on a G League roster, maybe two way contract for a period of time before going overseas where he balls.

  4. It was a great game. We blew up their zone but we started to struggle a bit when they went man-2-man. But, we eventually started to beat that. Sean did have a great game without needing to score. Poteat was everywhere. He and Kidd nearly perfected those short hook shots and shoot a very high % when facing single coverage. GT’s defense seemed kind of weak. It seems like we got a lot of easy looks. But, we hit them.

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