Hokies Fall Short in Charleston Classic Championship, Lose First Game of Season to College of Charleston
After a successful layup from College of Charleston's Pat Robinson III made it 77-75 with three seconds remaining, it was going to take a miracle from a Justyn Mutts baseline inbound to get a desperation shot off in the Charleston Classic final.
Mutts successfully connected with Darius Maddox, and from half-court the guard was able to heave a shot up in-time, but it had too much power. As the buzzer sounded, the ball bounced off the backboard, clanged off the rim, and fell back into the hands of Maddox, who was still running towards the basket.
A sold-out TD Arena exploded, and College of Charleston won their first ever Charleston Classic in front of their home crowd.
It was a mix of everything that allowed the Cougars to upset the Hokies. Virginia Tech got off to a slow start, as shots just weren’t falling the Hokies’ way in the first 12 minutes. Tech coach Mike Young was given a technical for complaining about a foul. And Charleston capitalized, jumping to a 25-12 lead - the largest deficit of the tournament and season so far for Virginia Tech - prompting a timeout from Young.
It would be a back and forth scoring affair until the end of first half, but Virginia Tech wouldn’t retake the lead. At the first buzzer, the Hokies were down 35-20 - their largest deficit of the tournament and season. Justyn Mutts led the Hokies with 12 points and four rebounds. And it was clear that Virginia Tech had multiple squeaky wheels that needed lots of grease to adjust for at the half.
After 20 minutes, Virginia Tech was shooting 14-35 (40%) and 2-14 (14.3%) from 3-point range, out-rebounded 22-16, and had zero points off the bench.
But in the second-half, the Hokies came out the gate hot. A 15-5 scoring run to retake their first lead since the first five minutes consisted of an MJ Collins dunk and-1, which rejuvenated Virginia Tech’s spirits.
From there, the Cougars hung around and wouldn’t let the Hokies run away with it. Before CofC tied the game at 70 with 2:04 left in the second half and took the lead at the 1:25 mark, the largest deficit the Cougars were down by was only eight.
Both teams fought tooth and nail to come out on top and take home the Charleston Classic trophy. But the Cougars played harder, and usurped the Hokies in a quad-1 win and first ever Charleston Classic win for its program.
Four Hokies finished in double-digit points: Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor tied with 17, Mutts 16, and Grant Basile 12. While Virginia Tech was able to fix their shooting woes from FG range, they couldn’t generate offense from deep, finishing the game 6-27 (22.2%) from three. In the last two games, Virginia Tech has shot 9-46 (19.5%) from long-range.
Virginia Tech has the Thanksgiving holiday week to readjust and prepare for Charleston Southern, who visits Blacksburg for the first time since 2016 Friday night at 8 p.m.