Hokies Demolish Delaware State To Win 7th-Straight Season Opener
It was the Grant Basile show in Blacksburg Monday night, as the forward helped Virginia Tech cruise past Delaware State 95-57.
The Wright State transfer dropped a 30 points and 10 rebounds double-double on the Hornets in his first game in a Virginia Tech uniform. He shot six for nine from beyond the arc and hit six field goals to boost the Hokies in their season opener.
“I was really happy [for Grant],” point guard Sean Pedulla said after watching Basile ball.
“He’s obviously a really good shooter, and we just continue to go to the things that work...I thought he was really happy [in] his first game as a Hokie.”
In his first ever collegiate start, Pedulla finished the night with 18 points. The Edmond, Oklahoma native was ferocious from beyond the arc, drilling five of eight 3-point attempts.
“Knowing exactly how much confidence coach Young has in me just boosts my confidence even more,” Pedulla said about being ushered into the starting role.
“…Playing a little bit more minutes, you kinda take more shots…that you wouldn’t really take last year. So I'd definitely say I’m more confident this year.”
Darius Maddox, also starting for the first time, posted 14 points.
The Hokies were without forward Justyn Mutts due to his NCAA-mandated one-game suspension. Mutts’ presence was missed dearly, as although the offense was fine without him, the defense was shaky at times.
“I’m gnashing my teeth and I’m mad as a hornet at the half,” coach Mike Young said.
“...I don’t think we guarded very well…Then it dawned on me: you’re playing without I think the best defensive player in the ACC. He [Mutts] just covers up so many things with his communication, his vision and basketball IQ.”
Turnovers were also an issue for Virginia Tech. After giving away the ball just once in the first half, the Hokies coughed up nine to the Hornets in the second frame.
“I think we kinda just got complacent a little bit,” Pedulla said.
“I thought we had a good first half…so just keeping that in mind and carrying that into the second half as well.”
But when one door closes, another opens. And for center Lynn Kidd, he shined in the opportunity to start in Mutts’ place. The 6’10 junior tied Basile in rebounds with 10 on the night and put up eight points.
“I think he had a little heart to heart with himself,” Young began explaining regarding Kidd’s lack of playing time last season. “...I can’t tell you how serious he was throughout the summer. Every day. Every single day with David Jackson in the weight room. He’s up in the office every Monday through Friday every afternoon watching film. He works out religiously continuously.”
“...He’s ready to go. He’s chomping at the bit. He’s earned everything he’s given. Nobody’s given him anything. He’s earned it. He’s worked his tail off. Couple that with…he’s a big-league athlete. He’s strong as an ox. Makings of a good basketball player, and I couldn't be happier for him.”
Although kinks such as turnovers and sloppy defensive play need to be ironed out, Virginia Tech proved that they’re a force to be reckoned with Monday night. And with Mutts returning against Lehigh Thursday, the Hokies will be even more intimidating than they already are.
“We got a good win,” Basile said.
“It’s nice to get the first win under our belt, but I’m ready to go now.”