Raleigh, NC – In a contest that required 40 minutes of hustle and clutch plays, Virginia Tech escaped PNC Arena on Wednesday night with a 62-59 win over NC State. The Hokies (10-7, 2-4 ACC) established their presence in the game early, leading off with a 13-0 run to set the tone. Tech would lead by as many as 18 points in the first half. Shooting 53.3 percent from the field, Tech went into the break leading 35-21. Virginia Tech dominated the glass, as big men Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts combined for 20 rebounds. NC State only grabbed 26 boards throughout the game, marking the second game in a row that Tech limited its opponents to 26 or fewer rebounds. Despite giving up a chunk of their lead in the second half, the Hokies bunkered down when it mattered most. After the Wolfpack drew the score within two points with 5:33 remaining in the game, Tech didn’t surrender another bucket for the next 3:57 of the game, allowing for a seven-point cushion to emerge. Freshman Sean Pedulla came up huge down the stretch when fouled with 12 seconds remaining. The Edmond, Oklahoma native stepped up to the line with confidence and restored a three-point lead for the Hokies that they would see out for the win.
How It Happened
Virginia Tech started out the scoring by going on a 13-0 run, culminating in a bucket from Sean Pedulla, to take an early lead with 13:33 left in the first half. The Hokies used their early momentum to finish out the first half and head into halftime with a 35-21 advantage. Virginia Tech did most of its first half damage in the paint, scoring 24 of its 35 points close to the basket. NC State scored in spurts in the second half to edge down the Hokies’ lead. A scoreless spell for Tech between 7:45 and 4:09 in the second half allowed the Wolfpack to get within two points. Virginia Tech responded with its own solid defensive effort and a Storm Murphy 3-pointer to grow the lead back to seven. A couple turnovers let NC State get within one with 0:21 remaining, but Pedulla’s free throws sealed the win for Virginia Tech.
Keve Aluma notched his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.» Aluma extended his double-digit scoring streak to 12 games. Virginia Tech never trailed on the way to a 62-59 victory. Virginia Tech had a 37-26 edge on the boards in the win. Tech’s 36 rebounds were the most by the team in any ACC game this season. The Hokies were active in affecting shots on the defensive end, recording five blocks as a team.» Virginia Tech cleaned up the offensive glass, collecting 12 offensive boards in the game.
Justyn Mutts led the Hokies with 13 points.