The Virginia Tech Hokies have had tons of struggles recently and no one was expecting the Hokies to go on the road to Pittsburgh and pull off the upset. However, the Hokies almost pulled off one of their biggest upsets in years on the road against the 25th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers in front of a sellout crowd. The 9-game losing streak was expected to go to double digits today and it did but not without a lot of drama. Let’s take a look at why the Hokies almost pulled off this huge upset.
1. Virginia Tech shut down Lamar Patterson.
Lamar Patterson was the main man in the Pittsburgh offense entering this game and while Patterson was somewhat injured, the Hokies got the job done to absolutely shut down Patterson in this big game. Patterson’s injured hand did cause him issues but the Hokies limited the space that Patterson had to work with throughout the game. Patterson could have been the guy that made this not even close in favor of Pittsburgh but Patterson’s bad game of only 2 points ALMOST cost them.
2. Joey Van Zegeren, Trevor Thompson, and Cadarian Raines all played well.
Joey Van Zegeren, Trevor Thompson, and Cadarian Raines have all had some good games but today all three of them had big games when the Hokies needed them to. Van Zegeren led the frontcourt defensively with 3 blocks while Raines had 2 and Thompson added 1. Van Zegeren made 2 big late free throws to give the Hokies an even better chance and his 10 points total were a big boost to go with 5 rebounds and a steal. Thompson had a solid 8 points and 6 rebounds while Raines provided strong bench production 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 steals. All three got the job done in a big game and that was essential to the Hokies almost pulling off this big upset though Van Zegeren and Thompson fouling out hurt them.
3. Virginia Tech made its free throws.
Virginia Tech has had tons of struggles from the free throw line but there were tons of moments when the Hokies made free throws when they had to. Van Zegeren made a couple of big free throws near the end of regulation that made sure the Hokies had a chance to force overtime. Devin Wilson made a couple of big free throws down the stretch in the first overtime that helped the Hokies force a second overtime. Wilson then made 3 of his 4 free throws in the second overtime to really put the Hokies in a position to win. The Hokies made 80% of their free throws which is something the Hokies haven’t done often this year and is a big reason why they were able to almost pull off this massive road upset.
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