There was a lot on the line Saturday afternoon for the Virginia Tech men's basketball team against North Carolina State in Raleigh. The Hokies were looking to end a two-game losing streak and pick up a big Quad 1 victory away from Blacksburg.
Check and check.
Trailing 54-51 with just under eight minutes remaining in the game, Virginia Tech closed the game on a 33-25 run sparked by Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor to beat the Wolfpack and pick up their first true road win of the season at PNC Arena.
NC State jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before the Hokies found their offense and built a 23-16 lead, their largest of the opening half. The Hokies held the lead for the rest of the half, but NC State, which was 0-for-8 behind the 3-point line in their win over Wake Forest Wednesday night, started to get hot behind the arc and pulled within a point at halftime, 33-32, on a Breon Pass 3-pointer with four seconds left.
The Wolfpack opened the second half the same way they ended the half with a Pass 3-pointer for their first lead snce early in the firs half. NC State went ahead 54-51 on two free throws and that's where things changed. Cattoor made a layup and Pedulla followed with a 3-pointer for a 56-53 lead. What keyed the larte run for the Hokies was Pedulla's ability to get into the lane and finish around the basket and Cattoor hit another 3-pointer for a 67-58 lead.
The Hokies saw the lead peak to 75-61, but the Wolfpack's press forced turnovers and twice Virginia Tech fouled NC State 3-point shooters putting them at the line with the clock stopped. The Hokies were able to close out the game at the foul line and pick a huge victory not only for the league standings but also for overall confidence and it was also a resume-building victory.
Cattoor's 19 points led Mike Young's team and Lynn Kidd finished with 14 points and six rebounds, which was huge. As I wrote Friday, Virginia Tech is a different team offensively when Kidd is being productive. Pedulla had 13 points and eight assists and Tyler Nickel had 12. Robbie Beran had 11 and Mylyjael Poteat was big off the bench with eight points and four rebounds.
Turnovers were again an issue for the Hokies who committed 20, eight by Pedulla, but they forced 18 NC State turnovers which nearly evened things out. The Hokies return to action Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum against Boston College looking to build off of a big win over the Wolfpack.