Ten days ago, Virginia Tech men’s basketball (11–3, 1–2 ACC) was ranked No. 21 in the country and only had one loss to their name. Now, they’re unranked, have lost their last two games on the road and will enter 2023 with a losing record in conference play.
Wake Forest (10–4, 2–1 ACC), a team most notable for dismantling No. 14 Duke in their previous contest, shot nearly 40% from three-point range in their 77-75 win over the Hokies this afternoon.
The Demon Deacons had two players who hit four three-pointers, Tyree Appleby and Daivien Williamson. Appleby, who played all 40 minutes, led the game in scoring with 24 points, while Williamson contributed 12 points off the bench.
Inversely, the Hokies were not as proficient with their long-range shooting, making six out of 21 shots for a percentage of 28.6%. Hokies guard Sean Pedulla had a particularly bad day, going 1-9 from three-point territory, but he still managed to finish with 18 points.
This poor shooting performance might be the effect of Hunter Cattoor’s absence. Cattoor, who shoots over 40% from three-point range for his career, didn’t play this afternoon after injuring his elbow on a drive to the basket in the Hokies’ previous game against Boston College.
In an attempt to fill the void left by Cattoor, Hokies head coach Mike Young slid forward Justyn Mutts to the wing and started Lynn Kidd at power forward. Mutts performed well in his altered role, finishing with an 18-point, 11-rebound double-double. Kidd also gave a solid performance in his second start of the season, recording seven points and eight rebounds.
While this wasn’t how the Hokies wanted to end 2022, the ACC championship win last season and the solid start to the current season are enough to consider this past year an overall success for the program.
Now, the Hokies will return home looking to get 2023 started on the right foot as they host Clemson on Wednesday at 9 p.m.