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Hokies Falter on Final Possession, Come Up Just Short in Charlotte 79-77

By Zachary Ozmon | November 11
Pedulla filled the stat sheet but that wasn't enough as the Hokies take their first loss of the season. (Will Trent)

The Hall of Fame Series game in Charlotte between Virginia Tech and South Carolina did not disappoint, as the Hokies fell to the Gamecocks 79-77 in a game that kept everyone watching on their toes.

The Hokies jumped out to a quick 15-10 lead to begin the game just at the 14:00 minute mark in the first. Despite the convincing start, the momentum shifted back in favor of South Carolina as guards Ta’Lon Cooper and Jacobi Wright converted a pair of buckets each to ignite a 12-0 run just past midway through the first half.

From then on, the Hokies struggled to get back even in the contest, getting within three points multiple times but finding it hard to get over the hump and take the lead. It wasn’t until the 4:41 mark in the second half that the Hokies finally tied the game up on a Hunter Cattoor three-pointer. They grabbed back the lead a minute later on three free throws from Sean Pedulla, making it 72-69.

The final three minutes were thrilling as both teams traded baskets back and forth until a B.J. Mack up-and-under layup sealed the game with 20 seconds remaining, as the Hokies weren’t able to get a final shot off.

A miscue on a handoff from Sean Pedulla to Hunter Cattoor handed the ball back to the Gamecocks, resulting in an unfortunate turnover. Despite the ending, Pedulla played his heart out all night, finishing with a career high of 26 points as well as nine rebounds and five assists.

Hunter Cattoor had a game to forget as he scored 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, including 3-of-10 from the three. Logging 40 minutes, Cattoor still made his impact on the floor in other ways despite the tough shooting night, but ultimately just didn’t have his best game in Charlotte.

The bigs for the Hokies provided plenty of scoring and tons of energy to Coach Mike Young, as Lynn Kidd and Mylyjael Poteat combined for 21 points while shooting 8-of-10 from the field. Mike Young said he wanted to see 20–25 points every night from that group, and although he is just two games into the season, it looks as if he will get what he wished for.

Robbie Beran and Mekhi Long had solid games as they are still getting acclimated to their new squads, dropping seven and six points, respectively.

Although a loss is never what you want to see, it’s a loss that Mike Young and Co. can get better off of and use to continue to look forward. You can’t dwell on a loss this early in the season, as things are still being figured out about certain players and chemistry is still being built.

The Hokies next matchup is against the Campbell Camels back at home in Cassell on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m.

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Born in Chesapeake and raised into a family of hokies, Virginia Tech is where I call home now. Attended New River Community College as a freshman and now a sophomore at VT as a transfer student in Fall 2022. Majoring in Sports Media and Analytics, I’m excited for what’s to come for me as a student at VT.

Virginia Tech sports has always been something I have been a fan of. From afternoons in Lane Stadium to nights in Cassell Coliseum, I have loved every second of it no matter the outcome.

One of my first memories of being a Tech fan was our upset win against Ohio State 35-21 where CB Donovan Riley had the game sealing pick-6. More recently, beating UNC in 6 overtimes, our run to the sweet 16, and of course winning the men’s basketball ACC Championship with upsets over UNC and Duke.

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