Despite a sloppy first half offensively, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team went into the locker room leading Florida State, 30-27, Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee. Their defense held the Seminoles to 10-for-26 shooting and allowed only one 3-pointer on eight attempts. Unfortunately for head coach Mike Young and his team, the second half was an all too familiar sight for the 2023-24 season.
Virginia Tech was outscored 50-44 in the final 20 minutes as Florida State used a 14-0 run midway through the half to take a seven-point lead and they held off a furious rally from the Hokies to escape and improve to 8-6 overall and 2-1 in the ACC after Primo Spears made two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to break a 74-74 tie. Virginia Tech suffers a devastating loss and falls to 9-5 overall and 1-2 in the ACC. Here are three takeaways from the Hokies second consecutive loss in conference play.
1. Virginia Tech allowed too many offensive rebounds
What was a key part of the Seminoles' second-half run was a series where they collected eight offensive rebounds and turned them into a layup, dunk, and two made baskets where they failed to complete the three-point play. Each basket was off an offensive rebound off of missed free throws. In the end, FSU was the team that showed it wanted it more and the Hokies have some sole searching to do when they get back to Blacksburg.
2. Sean Pedulla had a good bounce-back game
It was the first time in a while that Sean Pedulla looked healthy. He was injured in the final seconds of the Hokies win over Louisville on Dec. 3 and missed two out of the next three games. He looked rusty and scared to do a lot last weekend at Wake Forest, but it looked like the full week of in-between games was good for him. He led the Hokies with 26 points on 9-for-17 shooting and did a good job getting to the basket late in the game to either make a layup or get to the foul line. He had three 3-pointers, but it wasn't enough in the end.
3. Florida State's length bothered Virginia Tech
Florida State's length and pressure got to the Hokies all game long. Their full-court press took time off the clock and limited time at the offensive end and they took Lynn Kidd out of the game and held him to two points on 1-of-5 shooting. He did grab eight rebounds and three assists on some offensive rebounds where he kicked it out to find the shooters, but he did not look to score for the first time all season long. Virginia Tech turned the ball over 16 times and never looked comfortable all game long.
The Hokies now head home for a pair of games next week, but two tough ones. They get Clemson Wednesday night, then Miami comes in next Saturday night. Two more losses at home could spiral things out of control quickly.