Virginia Tech nearly tied the game with a last second three-pointer, but fell to Penn State 61-58 in State College on Wednesday night. The Hokies dropped to 4-3 with the loss, while the Nittany Lions improved to 7-1 with the win.
Neither team shot the ball well from the field (38.5% for Tech and 37% for Penn State), and neither team was good from three-point range (28.6% for Tech, 16.7% for Penn State). Tech only had eight turnovers, while the Nittany Lions had 17. In the end, free throw shooting was Tech’s undoing.
VT: 4-of-14 (28.6%)
PSU: 17-of-30 (56.7%)
Joey van Zegeren led the Hokies in scoring and rebounding, but he went 0-of-7 from the free throw line. The r-junior came into the game shooting 39% from the charity stripe. He also finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but unfortunately he wasted four complete possessions in the first half by missing all of his free throws.
Justin Bibbs had 16 points and five rebounds, while going 3-of-5 from three-point range. No other Hokie had more than six points. Ahmed Hill was Tech’s second-leading rebounder with nine.
Tech led 42-34 with 11:39 remaining in the game. However, Penn State’s experienced team went on a 14-0 run to take a 48-42 lead, and the Hokies never regained the lead. Tech did not make another field goal until the 3:49 mark when van Zegeren got free for a big dunk. The big drought late in the game doomed the Hokies in the end.
Thanks to some bad Penn State free throw shooting, Virginia Tech was able to get a last shot with a chance to tie. PSU’s D.J. Newbill missed two free throws with 4.1 seconds left, and Malik Mueller rebounded for Tech. He dished to Ahmed Hill, who got a decent look at a three-pointer as time expired, but it bounced off the front of the rim.
The Hokies return to action this Sunday, December 7 when they host Radford. Tipoff is scheduled for 3pm, and the game can be seen online on ESPN3.
Game Highlights (by niemo at TechHoops.com)