It’s early in the season, but Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Mike Young still preaches defense. Early in the second half and with his team leading by 12, Wofford hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to nine at 48-39 and Young immediately called a timeout. The veteran coach was not happy with his team’s defense going under screens.
Whatever Young said in the timeout, he certainly got his team’s attention. The Hokies responded with a 22-10 run over the next eight minutes to take control at 70-49 on their way to a 98-76 win. The win was a special one for Young as it was the first time he was facing his former school before coming to Blacksburg.
Young’s top players came ready to play. Hunter Cattoor and Lynn Kidd carried the offense in the first half, then Sean Pedulla and Tyler Nickel took over in the second half in what was a true team victory.
Hunter Cattoor was hot in the first half for Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech held a 43-33 halftime lead thanks in large part to Cattoor. The senior shooting guard hit his first 3-pointer for the game’s first basket game, then connected on three more in the half for all 12 of his points. He was in one of those grooves where he looked confident when he was shooting and his teammates were looking for him.
Kidd had a big half as well, also scoring 12 points as he took advantage of the height advantage he had against the Terriers. Wofford hung around hitting six 3-pointers in the half, but Tyler Nickel had a huge four-point play in the half, while Mylyjael Poteat extended the lead at the half with a dunk. He had a very nice half off the bench with four rebounds and a pair of assists.
Virginia Tech needed those performances as point guard Sean Pedulla missed some time in the half with foul trouble and freshman Brandon Rechsteiner had a big 3-pointer and ran the point well in Pedulla’s absence with two assists.
Sean Pedulla took over in the second half
After playing just 11 minutes in the opening half because of foul trouble, Pedulla took over in the second half. He had 11 points before the first media timeout and helped the lead balloon to 56-41. He was able to get to the basket and score against his defender and Wofford did not adjust by sending another defender.
Wofford made a run to cut the deficit to 10, but the Hokies regained control of the game with their defense. Pedulla had a steal and a layup, then after another steal on the next Terriers possession, Nickel hit a 3-pointer right in front of the Hokies bench to increase the lead to 21 at 70-49 with 11:23 left. Earlier in the half during the run, he hit a 3-pointer in transition.
Kidd led the Hokies with 20 points and seven rebounds and Pedulla had 19 points and five assists. Cattoor had 17 points and Nickel chipped in with 14. It was a well-balanced effort and Virginia Tech outscored Wofford 55-43 in the final 20 minutes.
Virginia Tech will now turn its attention to the ESPN Events Invitational beginning on Thanksgiving in Orlando. The Hokies will open up Thanksgiving night against Boise State at 8 p.m., then will play either Iowa State or VCU on Friday. The tournament concludes next Sunday with Tech’s third game of the weekend.