Tech loses big lead, falls by 2 to VT

Photo courtesy of Trevor White

The men’s basketball team traveled up to Blacksburg, Va., Monday to take on ACC rival Virginia Tech. The Jackets have been struggling against ACC foes, so this was an important game to  win against a weaker ACC team.

After playing a hard-fought game, the Jackets fell short and lost a 10 point lead with three minutes left. The Hokies hit a late three pointer, and missed free throws and opportunities plagued Tech as they fell 65-63 to VT.

Forward Charles Mitchell came off the bench for the Jackets and led the team with 17 points and eight rebounds. Mitchell has played a key roll in scoring for the Jackets and has done so all season. He provided a spark off the bench that the team needed during this tough road test.

Marcus Georges-Hunt played a solid game for Tech, adding 11 points and five rebounds of
his own.

Tech’s shooting woes continued in this game. The Jackets shot 37.7 percent from the field, below their already subpar 41.5 percent on the season. Their three point shots were off again in this game with the Jackets just four of 19 shots behind the arch. For a team that has not shot the three ball well all season, 19 shots were a lot to take.

The Jackets were able to out-rebound the Hokies, 39-27. But it still would not be enough to get them past VT.

Tech found themselves down early in the game thanks to some turnovers. After the first five minutes of the game, the Jackets were  in a 14-2 hole.

However, their luck would change in the next five minutes. The Jackets went on a key 9-0 to bring the score within one halfway through the first half. Tech would go into halftime up 31-26 due to some great defense down the stretch.

After multiple attempts to pull away, VT stayed within arms reach of the Jackets. Tech managed to build a seven point lead midway through the second half, only to see it erased after the Hokies came back from a timeout.

It appeared that the Jackets were ready to put this game away late as Tadric Jackson sunk a huge three to put Tech up by ten with only five minutes left in the game. However, the Hokies would not go away easily, though. VT made multiple crucial baskets down
the stretch.

With only 20 seconds left in the game, VT’s Malik Muller nailed a go-ahead and, ultimately, game-winning three pointer to put the Hokies up by 1 and give them their first lead of the half.

After a great defensive first half, the Jackets fell apart in the second. That did not go unnoticed by head coach Brian Gregory.

“Our defense was awful in the second half. We didn’t guard the dribble well. We took away their three, which was a big part of the game, but they got to the free throw line. They didn’t make a ton of them, but we had some missed coverages.” Gregory said after the game courtesy of

“We wanted to take the ball to the basket. It’s a tough, bitter pill to swallow. But we wanted the ball in Marcus [Georges-Hunt]’s hands. He’s our go-to guy. That’s who’s going to win the game for us in the end.” Gregory said.

The Jackets would fall to 11-13 on the season and 2-10 in ACC play. Tech hosts the Florida State Seminoles this Saturday at McCamish Pavilion, followed by Clemson on Monday night.