What. A. Win. The Hokies with a new head coach, 5 new starters and littered with youth went down to Clemson and came away with the victory in their first game of the season. Virginia Tech was a 6.5 point underdog coming into the matchup and if you asked just about any expert, it would be a moral victory to keep this competitive. Hokies put the ACC on notice that just because much of their sweet 16 team had left to the NBA or transferred to other teams, they are not a team that will go down easy.
Top Takeaways from the game:
- Landers Nolley was worth the wait. I mean wow.. 30 points from the redshirt freshman while shooting 50% from the three-point line. Big basket after big basket kept the team in the game throughout the first half and into the second. The offense will be centered around him all season long and we can’t wait to watch.
- This team has NO fear. As mentioned above this team is incredibly young and lack in experience, but that did not deter them from stepping up when it mattered most. A team with in their first close road ACC game, you would expect nerves, but they made 13 straight free throws and spoiled any hopes for the home team coming back late. Veterans Wabissa Bede and PJ Horne had big free throws late, but true freshman Nahiem Alleyne and redshirt freshman Landers Nolley also knocked down clutch free throws.
- Mike Young can coach. Stating the obvious here and repeating what we’ve been saying all offseason, but man this guy can coach with the best of them. Every time this group needed a timeout he called it and coming out of each timeout they had a great play dialed up. Offense had great movement and played tough man to man D. This is the right guy for this program moving forward, hop on board now before it’s too late.
- Hokies fought as a team on the boards. Did anyone reading this think that we could compete with Clemson on the boards tonight? We OUTREBOUNDED Clemson 39-36 on the night. This is a team that has PJ Horne as their starting center and Landers Nolley at the 4. That is not a knock on either one of those players, but size is clearly not their strength. Everyone fought for each board and will need to continue to if they want to compete in the ACC all season long.
Questions moving forward:
We don’t have many given this massive win and how happy we are with this team, but let’s state a few for discussion.
- Jalen Cone came into the game a little bit later with Nahiem Alleyne and Tyrece Radford being ahead in the rotation. Cone re-classified and is one of the youngest players on the team, but admittedly I think all of Hokie nation was expecting him to get a lot of minutes given his recruiting prestige. Will be interesting to monitor moving forward.
- As the Hokies move forward in their schedule it will be extremely difficult to rely on Landers Nolley getting 30 points a game as defenses will continue to focus on him. This team will gain more experience through non-conference play, but will need to identify one to two more guys who can create open shots moving forward. They did a great job today, but will be something to keep an eye on as opponents gain scouting reports on just how good Nolley is.
That’s all we got for tonight, we’ll continue to provide many more insights in the coming days from this big win. While we may not remain first in the ACC all year (like we currently are), this will be a well- coached team that works extremely hard and continues to grow throughout the season. We have a long ways to go and there will be plenty of ups and downs, but let’s enjoy it and get behind this program. Mike Young has this team going in the right direction. H-U-G-E WIN!