On the first day of the ACC tournament, the Hokies came in looking to end the season on a strong note, with hopes of advancing to the second round. The opponent in the way were the UNC Tar Heels, that the Hokies out survived in a double OT game earlier this season. Although UNC struggled all year, they have been hot since the return of star Cole Anthony. That theme stood for the entire game, with UNC likely ending the Hokie’s season. I am going to ask you to keep reading through the game recap, as we celebrate the team near the end.
Unfortunately, the recent trends of each team took hold in the first half. UNC jumped out to an early 17-7 lead, with the Hokies starting 5-20 from the field. Mike Young’s squad managed to close the gap to 21-18, but the Tar Heels battled back to yet another 10 point lead. Landers Nolley dug deep, reeling off 8 straight points to end the half, bringing the Hokies with in 6 with a 32-26 halftime score. The Hokie entered halftime feeling like they had a chance to continue the season.
The second half started with an all-too-familiar UNC run, expanding the lead to 39-26 right away. UNC out shot, out rebounded, out defended the Hokies all night, expanding their lead deep into double digits. I’ll be honest with all of our readers, I am writing this as the score stands at 53-36 with 10:07 remaining, and I don’t feel like talking more about this game. Instead I want to use this space to talk about the season and the bright future of the program.
Rewind to a year ago, we were all high on the success of the 2019, with legitimate tournament expectations. Hokie Nation was cruising. Come season end, the rug was pulled out from under our feet after the departure of Buzz Williams, graduations and transfers. The hire was of Mike Young wasn’t highly celebrated, and recruiting looked bleak. Fast-forward to November, and the young Hokies started the season with a bang, downing the Clemson Tigers on the road. Quickly thereafter, VT crushed basketball Goliath Michigan St. and we went from rebuilding to talking about the NCAA tournament. After dropping a couple games, the Hokies were back to a hot start to the ACC season. We saw the dominance of Landers Nolley, the development of Tyrece Radford into as genuine star, and the meteoric growth of Tik-Tok mogul, and sharpshooter, Jalen Cone.
Around mid-January, the wheels started to come off a little, but our players and fans never faltered. You could witness the passion or hear it on TV every night in Cassell. We all stuck with this team through the rough end to the season for good reason. We have an amazing roster led by the impeccable Mike Young. Anyone who watched this team this year knows to be beyond excited for 2020 season and beyond. We have a returning starting lineup, 4 freshman scoring 8 points per game or more, and some stud recruits on the way. So Hokie Nation, stand up, applaud our boys, and be ready to go hard for the squad next season as they take it up to the next level!