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Hokies Open Their 2023-2024 Campaign with a Win, Dominate Coppin St. 100-55

By Zachary Ozmon | November 07
Screenshot 2023 11 07 at 11 44 17 AM
Lynn Kidd didn't miss a shot Monday night, hitting 6-of-6 from the field. (Will Trent)

The Hokies displayed complete dominance in their 100-55 victory over the Coppin St. Eagles on Monday night in Blacksburg, showing a great mix of scoring as well as spreading the ball all around the court.

“I thought we played well; we shared the ball,” Coach Mike Young said of his squad. We had 29 assists on 32 made baskets; we made some turnovers in the first half, but we did better in the second half. That can get away from you a little bit when you're substituting.”

Virginia Tech got off to a slower start than usual, shooting 5-of-19 from the floor, but the shots started falling for Tech just around the 10-minute mark in the first half. Back-to-back threes from Sean Pedulla and North Carolina transfer Tyler Nickel increased the lead to 15 with 9:31 remaining in the first half, and the Hokies never looked back.

Pedulla had a big game for coach Mike Young, scoring 15 points, dishing 10 assists, and adding 4 rebounds. In just 26 minutes of play, Pedulla was everywhere on the court and was setting his teammates up whenever he could.

“He had only one bad shot, but he's playing the position; he's playing the point guard position," Mike Young said. “He's distributing; he makes the game easier for others; he's a joy to play with and not a lot of fun to play against; I'm very proud of him.”

A big load was also taken off of Pedulla this game, as we saw freshman Brandon Rechsteiner and Jaydon Young take over some playing time. They both made the most of their opportunity early in the season, combining for 20 points and hitting two threes apiece.

“I wanted to play Rechsteiner and Young as much in the second half as I could; they need that time,” Mike Young said. “I thought they did well for our team. The defensive end, of course, is such a challenging end of the floor for young people because they haven't seen enough plays, but I thought they did a good job.”

Despite the great showing from the two, playing time on the court isn’t all offense, and as Mike Young stated, getting acclimated to the defensive climate of college basketball is not easy. It's still early to tell what Mike Young is cooking up rotation-wise, and it will be ever-changing as the season continues.

Something that will probably never change, though, is the potential talent of Lynn Kidd for the Hokies. Kidd hit a perfect 6-of-6 from the field, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. The potential double-double machine was a huge athletic presence down low, dunking every ball in sight, and was big on the pick-and-roll game with Pedulla and others.

Mylyjael Poteat also gave some good production off the bench, making 4-of-5 from the field, ending his night with eight points. With the departure of Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile from the team last year, production from his bigs is paramount to success.

“We need that presence; he's a talented person,” Mike Young stated about Kidd. “He can go left shoulder, he can go right shoulder; he's got a nice 15-foot jump shot; we need that; 15-20 from that spot would be huge; he and Poteat are capable; it was nice work from that front line.”

And how could you forget about Hunter Cattoor, who dealt with a nagging elbow injury all of last season. A healthy Cattoor could take the Hokies where they want to be, and he got right back into his groove, nailing three triples and finishing with 13 points. Cattoor is in his fifth year as a Hokie and looks to benefit from the revamped squad, including the additions through the transfer portal.

The most recent transfers, Tyler Nickel, Mekhi Long, and Robbie Beran, all played solid in their first games in Blacksburg, as they all showed flashes of what they can bring to the table for Mike Young and their teammates. They seem to bring the type of toughness that this Mike Young system is all about, and we hope to see that more moving forward.

Next up on the horizon, Virginia Tech heads to the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, NC, on Friday to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks for a 9:30 p.m. tip-off. The Gamecocks, who finished 12th in the SEC last season, will be the first power-5 game of the season for the Hokies and the first true test for this new group.

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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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