Who won the NC State vs. Virginia Tech ACC basketball game? Assessment



Virginia Tech’s Sean Pedula (3) and North Carolina State’s Breon Paz (10) battle for the ball during a layup during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Roanoke Times

After the loss to Clemson, Virginia Tech was 11-4 and 1-3 in the ACC at home and in need of a win.

If this all sounds familiar to NC State, it should. The Wolfpack was in an identical spot earlier in the week when it faced Duke at PNC Arena.

Duke faced all of the Pack’s efforts and was badly beaten. The Wolfpack expected the same from the Hokies, but held the lead all game and held off a late surge by Virginia Tech for a 73-69 win at Cassell Coliseum.

Terquavion Smith, Jarkel Joiner and Casey Morsell were the leaders on offense for the Pack, but this road win was a product of solid defense and good pitching. Smith had 22 points, Joyner had 21 and Morsell had 15.

It was a tense finale that left Cassell reeling.

The Wolfpack (13-4, 3-3ACC) led 65-54 with 1:11 left in regulation on a layup by Smith. But then the Hokies’ Darius Maddox took over.

He made a pair of free throws and then a 3-pointer after the Hokies forced an inbounds turnover. After Joyner, trapped in the corner, made another Wolfpack turnover, Maddox hit another 3-ball from the left wing to pull Virginia Tech within 65-62.

It was 67-64 before Greg Gant made a free throw for the Pack and a Hokies turnover led to two free throws by Joyner. But Maddox made another 3 to make it 70-67 with 15.4 seconds left.

Carpenter, fouled with 11.5 seconds left, knocked down one of two at the line for a 71-67 lead. Sean Pedula’s two free throws cut the lead to two, but Smith made two with six seconds left to make it 73-69.

The Hokies, trailing 36-22 at the half, trailed by 11 points with 11:11 left in the second half before using the dribble to get some easy shots. Pedula, a sophomore guard, was at the center of a surge as Virginia Tech got within five points and had chances to get closer.

The Hokies have lost three straight, all close losses to Wake Forest, Boston College and then Clemson by a combined 10 points. They are again missing senior guard Hunter Catur, the ACC Tournament MVP last spring when the Hokies won the championship.

Much like the Duke game, the Pack was ready from the start, finding Cassell’s soft rims to their liking and taking a 36-22 halftime lead.

Smith made his first 3-pointer. Joyner scored on a fast break and Morsell hit a 3 for eight quick points.

The Wolves, who won last season in Cassel, extended their lead to 13-2 before the Hokies went steady. When Joyner went to the bench after his second personal foul, the lead was eight points with 10 minutes left in the half and it looked like Virginia Tech might make a move.

But the Pack remained aggressive on their defense, forcing the Hokies into several off-balance or missed shots and limiting them to one 3-pointer. The Wolfpack outscored the Hokies 20-12 in the opening period, allowing one offensive board to a team that has been successful in offensive rebounding this season.

Smith, despite being doubled up defensively late in the half, had 13 points and a pair of outside shots.

Burns, who finished off his outstanding performance at Duke with 18 points, wasn’t much of a factor in the first half. The Pack’s big man made several shots and threw a defender late in the half for an offensive foul while attempting to make a move.

The Pack started the second half miserably, starting with Joyner hitting an aerial shot and Gantt fouling Matts on a 3-pointer — Matts making three free throws.

Joyner picked up his third foul 1:12 into the second half and the Pack made other mistakes as the Cassel crowd came alive as the Hokies scored the first seven points of the period.

Kitts called a timeout and Morsell followed and then made a 3 to make it 41-29.

In more than 30 years with The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered NC State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina and is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous state and national literary awards, covered the Hurricanes’ 1997 move to North Carolina and contributed to The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.

Who won the NC State vs. Virginia Tech ACC basketball game? Assessment

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