Virginia Tech overcame a 29-12 deficit to defeat West Virginia 87-82 in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday. Both teams are now 1-1 on the season. It was an important win for the Hokies, who lost to USC Upstate on Saturday.
“We didn’t dwell on Saturday’s game,” r-sophomore guard Adam Smith said. “We just looked forward. We practiced on Sunday, we watched film…we didn’t have our heads down.”
Smith said the coaching staff did a good job of keeping the team focused despite the early deficit.
“We went to the huddle, we were a little rattled, we’re a young team. But the coaches were calm, and they kept us all level headed.”
Smith struggled in his first game as a Hokie on Saturday, but he dropped 17 points on WVU on 7-of-12 shooting.
However, the biggest contributors were the freshmen. Ben Emelogu scored 22 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including a 3-of-6 mark from three-point range. He also pulled down six rebounds and blocked three shots.
Freshman point guard Devin Wilson also did a good job for the Hokies. He finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists. Emelogu and Wilson combined to go 15-of-16 from the free throw line.
Freshman forward Trevor Thompson made his college debut against the Mountaineers. He finished with seven points, five rebounds and three blocks in 17 minutes of action. Cadarian Raines blocked five shots, and overall the Hokies swatted 13 WVU shot attempts on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite trailing 29-12, the Hokies put on a furious rally and actually took a 55-45 lead with 14:33 left in the game. That’s a 43-16 run in favor of the good guys. Ben Emelogu hit a buzzer beating three-pointer at halftime, and Devin Wilson made two clutch free throws with five seconds left. The Hokie freshmen had ice water in their veins on Tuesday.
Virginia Tech will return to action on Friday night when they host Western Carolina. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm, and the game can be seen online on ESPN3.