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Virginia Tech Gets Revenge Against Syracuse, Defeat Orange 85-70

By Nels Williams | January 29
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Hunter Cattoor oncemore had himself a night on Saturday against the Orange. (Image via Will Trent)

The Virginia Tech team that played Saturday night versus Syracuse was not the same team that came out to play two and a half weeks ago when the Orange hosted the Hokies in the JMA Wireless Dome.

That team of old was a squad that significantly lacked energy, played flat-footed, and shot 3-of-19 (15.8%) from 3-point range.

The Virginia Tech (13-8, 3-7) team that played in front of an electric Cassell crowd tonight was a team that came out to play, and when this team fires on all cylinders, they will absolutely kill a team from behind the arc. And tonight, that team that had to face the wrath of the Hokie 3-point bombardment was Syracuse (13-9, 6-5).

“They’ve earned it. A lot of it went into this one,” Tech head coach Mike Young said postgame.

“Coming off the Monday game against Duke which is a very good win. There’s no rest. Gotta load it up again and play a Syracuse team that’s playing very well and they beat our tail up there a couple weeks ago. And we did just that. But the party keeps on trucking.”

85-70 was the final score from Blacksburg, and 39 of those points came from long-range. Overall, Virginia Tech shot 13-of-32 (40.6%) from behind the arc, and from the floor 32-of-60 (53.3%). The blitzing on offense even came without guard Darius Maddox.

Before the game began, it was announced that Darius Maddox would not be playing due to a “family matter,” per Virginia Tech. That meant MJ Collins would be starting and John Camden would be seeing more playing time for the Hokies, and the freshmen both took full advantage of the opportunity. Collins had 11 points and a rebound, while Camden had eight points, six rebounds, and three assists.

It was a watershed moment for Camden, who before Saturday, was seeing sparse playing time. But tonight, the Downington, Pa., product played hard, downhill, and was a gritty player for the Hokies.

“I had a feeling I was going to get an opportunity to go out there tonight and I tried to make the most of it to help my team win,” Camden said after the game. “We came away with a big ACC win so I’m happy.”

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Grant Basile was feasting tonight. (Image via Will Trent)

His teammates had high praise for Camden as well.

“He was awesome,” said Grant Basile. “He did a lot of really good things and played well defensively for us. He missed his first three shots, and you know how good of a shooter he is and everyone was in his ear [saying] ‘hey, just keep shooting, we need you, keep shooting’ and he hit his next four and lo and behold he started opening up the zone and made some good passes. Rebounded well, defended well, he was awesome for us tonight.”

For the rest of the squad, it was the trio of Grant Basile, Hunter Cattoor, and Justyn Mutts that powered the Hokies past the Orange. Basile had 25 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Cattoor had 20 points – in which 18 of those came from 3-pointers – eight assists and three rebounds. And Mutts had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds as well as eight assists.

Combined, they had 66% of the team’s points, 62% of the rebounds, and 80% of the assists, and absolutely carved up Syracuse’s zone defense.

Next up for Virginia Tech is Miami in Florida on Tuesday. The win against the Hurricanes would be a statement win for the Hokies, as Miami is currently ranked 20th in the AP Poll. However, there is a good chance that their Top 25 spot is in Jeopardy, as Miami was upset by Pitt early Saturday afternoon.