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Hokies Comfortably Cruise Past William & Mary on Banner Revelation Night

By Nels Williams | November 14
The 2022 ACC Champions banner looks even better in person. (Will Trent)

On the ACC Championship banner reveal night, Virginia Tech looked like they could make a run for the ACC Title once more, defeating William & Mary comfortably 94-77.

Before the Hokies and Tribe tipped off against each other for the first time in 17 seasons, a special ceremony was held to honor the 2022 Tournament winners, and those who contributed to Virginia Tech’s monumental milestone.

“[I took] a moment there to consider the blood, sweat and tears that went into it,” Tech head coach Mike Young said of the ACC Title and banner.

“And to think of [Keve] Aluma and Storm Murphy and those guys that couldn’t make it back, that aren’t with us any longer, Nahiem Alleyne. There are a lot of kids that worked really, really hard. Came here when there were some questions about a number of things. … So [it was a] proud moment.”

A 14-0 run within the first five minutes set the tone for what was to come, as Darius Maddox, Grant Basile, Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla all added to the scoring onslaught. All four would finish the night in the double digits in points, and while Basile and Maddox posted 13 and 14 respectively, Cattoor and Pedulla led the Hokies with 22 each.

The mark is a new career-high for Pedulla, who is already off to a hot start. The sophomore point guard is averaging 20 points per game through the first three games this season.

“We have so many scorers on our team that each night someone can be our leading scorer, which is a good thing so it’s not just one person,” Hunter Cattoor said postgame.

Cattoor now sits at 10th in all-time 3-pointers with 181. Heading into the game, the senior guard was tied with Damon Watlington (1992-1996) at 175.

The Hokies rained down threes like it was nobody’s business to surpass the Tribe, sinking 16 total from five unique players. It was Cattoor and Pedulla who were most efficient, amounting to more than half made - Cattoor 6-10, and Pedulla 4-7.

Nine different players found the score sheet for Virginia Tech. Off the bench, Kidd and Poteat both put up six, and MJ Collins had seven.

It's the unselfishness of the Virginia Tech offense that makes the engine run. Although the Hokies can seemingly score from anywhere, the team wants to see everyone make their shot.

“I think it’s just like we all enjoy each other and we all enjoy each other’s success. We all want to see each other play well, so if I have an extra pass for Darius [Maddox] I want to see him make that shot,” Pedulla said of the offensive rhythm created thus far this season.

Cattoor is just 11 threes away from tying Jarell Eddie (2010-14) for 9th all-time in 3-pointers made in program history. (Will Trent)

Virginia Tech would not run away with the game like they did in the first two, however. William & Mary made sure to keep it interesting in the second half, and was backed by graduate guard Anders Nelson, who led all scorers with 25 points. Nelson was versatile from all parts of the offensive zone, shooting 10-15 from field goal range and 4-7 from three.

“He looked like Ricky Rubio out there tonight,” Young said about Nelson. “You see that sometimes. … Kid had a good ball game, we missed him on a couple of things. So hats off to him.”

What enabled Nelson to look like the NBA point guard in Young's words was the lack of defense sustained by Virginia Tech. There were many times where off the ball-screen set by the Tribe, the Hokies would get jumbled and appear lost.

“We’re not guarding a complete clock. We’re guarding 25 seconds of that thing,” Young said of the defense. “It just takes one guy to relax and the ball is driven and now it’s getting to the second level. And some tough things happen in that instance. So continue to harp on it, continue to work on it [the defense].”

Virginia Tech certainly has the tools and means to defend well. But the mental mistakes and lapses in proper fundamentals have frustrated the Hokies on the defensive side of the ball.

“[We have to] just [work on] communication, getting in and making people feel uncomfortable,” Cattoor said. “And I think today in the second half they felt a little comfortable, got some confidence going and we couldn’t really slow that down. We’re gonna get back to practice, work on it, and we’ll be ready at Charleston for it.”

Four days separate the Hokies from Old Dominion in the first game of the Charleston Classic. Virginia Tech now enters a stretch where the level of play and talent of other teams is starting to increase as the season furthers.

“We’re going to take a step up here in competition, starting with Old Dominion,” Young said. “They have 33 offensive rebounds in their first two games. That is still a question mark for this team. I know that Mutts is going to rebound it every night. We’re going to have to compete there. Do we have what it takes at this point in the season as a unit with our guards?”

Virginia Tech plays Old Dominion at 2 p.m. on ESPN2 Thursday and either Furman/Penn State Friday. The Hokies will then play from the other side of the bracket Davidson, College of Charleston, Colorado State, or South Carolina Sunday.