Virginia Tech Basketball: Hokies blueprint for success was on display against Clemson

The Virginia Tech men's basketball team beat Clemson Wednesday and the way they did it is the blueprint for them to have success in 2023-24.
Jan 10, 2024; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Tyler Nickel (23) celebrates
Jan 10, 2024; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Tyler Nickel (23) celebrates / Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for a resume-building win in 2023-24, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team got it Wednesday night at home against No. 21 Clemson. Coming in off of disappointing road losses to Wake Forest and Florida State, Mike Young’s team was looking for a performance to build off of.

They got that against the Tigers and did it without Hunter Cattoor who left the game in the first half after taking an inadvertent kick to the head while diving for a loose ball. The effort the Hokies put forward is what should be the blueprint going forward over the final 16 ACC games as they look to get into the NCAA Tournament in March.

Virginia Tech blueprint was on display vs. Clemson

For the first time in over a month, point guard Sean Pedulla looked healthy after suffering an ankle injury at the end of a 75-68 win over Louisville on Dec. 3. He missed two out of the next three games, but didn’t look against the Demon Deacons, but looked better against the Seminoles. Against Clemson, he was the best player on the floor when he needed to be without Cattoor.

Pedulla scored a career-high 32 points and had seven assists, while also taking a key charge late in the game as the Hokies were pulling away for the win inside Cassell Coliseum. Just as important for Virginia Tech was the contributions they got from other players.

After scoring just two points at Florida State, Lynn Kidd had just six against Clemson, but he played well, scoring six points and blocking two shots, but his presence on both ends of the floor was felt and offensively, the Tigers went at him defensively which left shooters open. One of those players who took advantage was Tyler Nickel, who had 24 pints and knocked down five 3-pointers. As Young said following the game, “he had his best game in a Hokie uniform.’’

MJ Collins was big for Virginia Tech with seven assists and Mekhi Long had eight points and seven rebounds off the bench with a pair of blocks. What was key for the Hokies was the way they spread things around and Mylyjael Poteat had five points and three rebounds off the bench as well. Robbie Beran had eight points and eight rebounds, six on the defensive end, and the Hokies only had 11 turnovers.

If there was a blueprint for the 2023-24 Virginia Tech men’s basketball team on how they need to play to win a game, it was against Clemson. Spread the ball around, play strong second-half defense and get contributions from the whole roster. If they can continue that, then they will set themselves up for a strong run over their final 16 games before the ACC Tournament.