Returns to homepage

Basile Goes Beast Mode, VT Snaps Losing Streak Against Duke

By Nels Williams | January 24
Grant Basile had himself a night in front of an electric Cassell Crowd. (Will Trent)

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

38 days, to be exact, since Virginia Tech last found themselves in the win column.

34 days since the seven game losing streak began that started at Boston College but finally, Virginia Tech (12-8, 2-7) clawed and fought their way to grind out a win against Duke (14-6, 5-4) 78-75 last night in Cassell Coliseum.

For a team that has lost its last seven games by extremely close margins – 35 points combined – entering once again as the favorites versus the Blue Devils by -2.5 points seemed like a trap. But Vegas always seems to know, don’t they?

In what was Virginia Tech’s 5th win against Duke in their last six games when played in front of a raucous Cassell crowd, the Blue Devils wanted to make sure that they would be walking out of Blacksburg in the win column.

And they made sure to keep it close.

MJ Collins' jumper and free throw was enough to push the Hokies back into the win column. (Will Trent)

Going down to the wire, Duke kept finding ways to chip away at the Hokies’ fragile lead that, in the final four minutes of the second half, was only at most five points. Kyle Filipowski, who led the Blue Devils with 29 points and 10 rebounds on the night, made sure to keep the Blue Devils in it. In the last four minutes, the true freshman was all over the court for Duke: Filipowski netted three points, an assist, a rebound and a steal, but his incredible individual effort was no match for the Hokies, who played sound defensively and made the shots when they counted the most.

MJ Collins was someone who fit into that category of making the shots when they needed to fall. The Clover, S.C., product made a clutch fadeaway jumper with under 13 seconds to go to put the Hokies up 77-75 after Duke’s Tyrese Proctor nailed a 3-pointer 25 seconds earlier. Collins had six points on the night, as well as five rebounds.

But for the Hokies, it was Grant Basile’s night to shine. The Wright State transfer led the team with 24 points and eight rebounds, and was tremendous down low in the four spot for Virginia Tech.

Sean Pedulla rounded second in scoring with 16 points, and Hunter Cattoor, who had a spotlight-shining moment to seal the game, had 15.

Once MJ Collins drew a foul and sank one out of the two free throws he was to take, Virginia Tech was up 78-75 with only three seconds remaining. Both teams took timeouts to talk game plans: one bench was looking to make a miraculous 3-pointer to force extra time, while the other was giddy – although certainly no one was saying it – in the hopes of finally going to the locker room happy with a win instead of a loss.

On an inbound from Ryan Young, the power forward was looking to pass to Jeremy Roach. Instead, Hunter Cattoor made the game-sealing play by reaching just far enough to tip the ball away from the hands of Roach, and corral it in the corner to ensure a Virginia Tech victory.

His return to the Hokies has been game-changing, to say the least (Shelton has a wonderful article on that here

The Hokies' offense was humming Monday night, as in all categories, they shot better than 50 percent: 28-of-49 (57.1%) from the floor, and 10-of-19 (52.6%) from 3-point range.

Next up for Virginia Tech is Syracuse on Saturday in Blacksburg. The Orange defeated the Hokies 82-72 in New York the last time the two teams played a few weeks ago.