Live from a high school gymnasium, the underdog Virginia Tech Hokies defeated the #3 Michigan State Spartans 71-66! People, we are riding the wave big time out here in Maui. Tomorrow the Hokies will face off against the Dayton Flyers who posted an impressive performance themselves.
Both teams got off to a hot start from the field, with the Hokies hitting three quick triples. The first half can only be defined as a back-and-forth match with 11 lead changes. Although the teams were evenly matched, the route to a close first half was different for each team. With the early loss of leader Cassius Winston due to fouls, the Spartans were sloppy with the ball, committing 11 turnovers. Conversely, the Spartans size reigned supreme as they easily cleared 20 boards, nearly double the Hokies. The spurt of lead changes came to a close when the Hokies found their stroke from three. Ultimately, the Hokies finished the first half with a 7-3 run in the last 3 minutes, including 4-0 during the last minute, giving them a 32 to 28 lead.
At the start of the second half, the Hokies couldn’t ride the wave they had earlier, as the Spartans erased the lead three minutes into the half. If you missed the first half, the second half followed the same pattern. A ping-pong match of lead changes. All told, this game has nine ties and thirteen lead changes. Hopefully you were fully tuned in with 8 minutes left in the game, because the Hokies caught fire. The Hokies went on an 8-0 run, as they heated up from deep. From then on, Hokie fans couldn’t rest easy, as the Spartans did their best to claw back with a7-0 run. Winston took on a much bigger role in the second half, but the lead never vanished. Landers Nolley and Wabissa Bede combined for Hokies final 17 points! I repeat, 17 points! Coach Young’s squad converted turnovers into 20 points. Stop me if I sound like a broken record, but Landers Nolley has ice in his veins. He notched 20 points on 4/6 from deep and 8/8 from the line, including a stone-cold, in-their-face three late in the game. Horne turned in a solid game, including 5/6 from the field and leading the team with 7 boards. Bede’s leadership showed with late rebounds and free throws to ice the game. Ultimately, the Hokies put together their most impressive win yet, with six players scoring in double figures, a total team effort. With another hot game from three your Virginia Tech Hokies knocked off the #3 ranked Michigan State Spartans and advance to the next round of the Maui Invitational.