Leaders step up to will a team to victory and Virginia Tech‘s junior point guard Sean Pedulla did that in the quarterfinals of the ESPN Events Invitational Thursday night in Orlando against Boise State.
With the Hokies leading 72-70 with under three minutes remaining, a jump ball possession arrow gave Virginia Tech the ball side out with four seconds remaining on the shot clock. Pedulla received the inbounds pass, took one dribble, and drilled a deep 3-pointer for a five-point lead. After getting a stop defensively, Pedulla drove to the basket and scored on a lay-up as the Hokies were able to pull away for an impressive 82-75 victory over the Broncos.
With the win, the Hokies advance to the semifinals Friday night at 5:30 against Iowa State, who rallied late in the second half to beat VCU, 68-64. Here are some observations after Virginia Tech improved to 4-1 on the season and picked up an early-season quad 2 win.
Observations after Sean Pedulla rallied the Hokies by the Broncos
- Pedulla scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half and was clutch when head coach Mike Young needed him to be. He added six rebounds and seven assists, he took a charge late in the game and forced a turnover with under two minutes left with his defense.
- Hunter Cattoor had 19 points, but he made five 3-pointers and in the first half, he passed A.D. Vassallo for career 3-pointers made in Virginia Tech history. He had the hot hand in the first half where he made four of his five treys.
- The Lynn Kidd breakout season continued. He also had 19 points and he also had six rebounds. When the Hokies were making their run in the final five minutes, he had a big dunk to give Virginia Tech a 69-63 lead when Sean Pedulla found him cutting wide open down the lane.
- Tyler Nickel was big off the bench again for Young. He had 14 points, nine in the second half, including a 3-pointer early in the half, then a big basket off an offensive rebound.
- As far as shooting goes, it was pretty even. Boise State shot 44.7% from the field and 38.1% on 3-pointers. Virginia Tech shot 47.3% from the field and 38.9% on 3-pointers.
- Mylyjael Poteat and Mekhi Long each had four points off the bench and both were 2-for-2 from the field. Poteat was big on the glass with five rebounds.
- The Broncos fell to 2-2 and were coming off getting beat at Clemson on Sunday, 85-68.
- Boise State came out hot shooting the ball while the Hokies struggled with turnovers and poor shot selection on the offensive end. The Broncos jumped out to a 14-2 lead and the Hokies’ defense got better as the half went along and they took a 44-41 lead into halftime after Cattoor got hot from behind the 3-point line.
- There is still a lot of basketball to be played before we get to mid-March, however, this could end up being a very good win come Selection Sunday. Boise State has played in the last two NCAA Tournament’s and is expected to be one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference again.
- Speaking of very good wins, that would be the case if Virginia Tech could beat Iowa State Friday night.
- Texas A&M beat Penn State and Florida Atlantic edged Butler in the games earlier in the day on the other side of the bracket to reach the semifinals. They will meet at 11 a.m. Friday.
One game down and two more to go for the Hokies in Orlando. It was a good start for Young’s team to rally from a 12-point first-half deficit for the victory.