VT MBB vs. NC State

Head coach Mike Young yells instructions to his team during the VT MBB vs. NC State game, Jan. 9, 2020.

The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team defeated Wake Forest 80-70 to improve to 13-4 (4-2) on the season. Both teams went back and forth in the first half, but the Hokies pulled away in the second half to secure a road victory in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Freshman Landers Nolley was Tech’s primary scorer again, totaling 21 points, while Tyrece Radford put together his best performance of the season with a career-high in points (21) and rebounds (13).

The Hokies jumped out to an early 8-3 lead to start the game thanks to a hot start from P.J. Horne, but the Demon Deacons evened the game 10-10 at the 15-minute mark of the first half. Tech defended effectively early and led the game 15-10 through the first 10 minutes of action.

The Hokies held Wake Forest scoreless for over seven minutes in the first half; Tech went on a 10-0 scoring run in that pivotal stretch and created an early 20-10 lead.

The first half was a game of runs and cold streaks as Wake Forest responded with a 18-3 run midway through the first to take a 31-25 lead with just over three minutes left in the half.

Following this scoring drought, Tech ended the half on an 8-0 run to head into halftime leading 33-31. Nolley led the Hokies in scoring in the first half with 14 points, while Jalen Cone added six points off the bench.

Tech attacked the basket efficiently to start the second half, jumping out to a 45-37 lead with just under 15 minutes left in the regulation. Ten of Tech’s first 12 points to start the half came from layups or dunks.

The Hokies extended their lead to 51-40 at the 12:30 mark of the second half thanks to Cone’s fourth 3-pointer of the night. Cone finished the night with 15 points off 4-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

With just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Radford finished a poster-dunk against a Wake Forest defender that proved to be a major momentum boost for the Hokies. Tech extended its lead to 63-46 at the eight-minute mark of the second half.

A 3-point basket with 6:32 remaining in regulation extended Nolley’s point total to over 20 for the night; This put Tech up 66-46 for its largest lead of the game.

Wake Forest cut the lead to 13 at the final media timeout, but the comeback attempt fell short as Virginia Tech finished with an 80-70 victory.

The Hokies shot outstanding from the field in the second half and finished the game 27 for 55 (49.1%) as a team. This was a major factor in Young’s squad running away with a 10-point lead to win the game.

Nolley, Cone and Radford were the most effective scorers for the Hokies as all three finished in double figures. Additionally, Radford recorded 13 total rebounds and Wabissa Bede had nine assists. The core of this season’s team is starting to come together as every player has his own integral role in Young’s system.

Up next, the Hokies return to Cassell Coliseum on Saturday for a rematch with the Syracuse Orange. Tech won its first matchup of the season at the Carrier Dome by a score of 67-63. Tip-off is set for noon on ACC Network.

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