Virginia Tech got a much-needed win its last time out, posting a victory for the first time since a week before Christmas.
The Hokies will look to continue their winning ways Saturday as they host Syracuse in ACC action in Blacksburg, Va.
Virginia Tech (12-8, 2-7 ACC) has endured a bizarre season to this point. The team won 11 of its first 12 games, including wins over Penn State, Minnesota, North Carolina and Oklahoma State. However, a seven-game losing streak followed — a brutal stretch that included defeats by one, two, three, four and five points.
The Hokies finally snapped out of their funk against Duke on Monday, registering a 78-75 triumph behind Grant Basile’s 24 points.
“A great deal — great deal,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said of the relief in the locker room after snapping the seven-game drought. “(Duke) played well enough to win. … Nice for the fruits of your labor to be recognized and rewarded.”
Syracuse (13-8, 6-4) had no such luck on Tuesday as the team dropped a 72-68 decision to North Carolina despite holding a two-point lead with under 30 seconds to play.
The Orange received a combined 50 points from Joe Girard (18), Judah Mintz (17) and Chris Bell (15), but they got outscored 14-2 from the foul line, much to coach Jim Boeheim’s dismay.
“It’s unusual,” Boeheim said of the free-throw discrepancy, as his team attempted just three free throws, 20 fewer than the Tar Heels. “We’re playing zone and had three free throws. That’s not a good number versus 23.”
The Orange also committed 16 turnovers, including six by Girard. By contrast, Virginia Tech’s starting backcourt of Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla committed just two turnovers in 79 combined minutes against Duke.
Saturday’s game is a rematch from a 10-point Orange home win over the Hokies on Jan. 11. Girard had 14 points in that contest to lead five Syracuse players in double figures. Basile scored 26 points to pace Virginia Tech, which shot just 3-of-19 from outside the arc, compared to a crisp 8-of-16 effort by Syracuse.
–Field Level Media