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Virginia Tech pursues second win in three days vs. Pitt

Jan 29, 2022; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Mike Young talks to his team during the first half of the game against the Florida State Seminoles at Donald L. Tucker Center. Mandatory Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech and Pitt will meet for the second time in 48 hours Monday night after the Hokies never trailed in a 76-71 win over the Panthers in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Now, the Panthers (8-15, 3-9 ACC) will visit the Hokies (13-10, 5-7) in Blacksburg, Va., after COVID-19 complications in Virginia Tech’s program caused a postponement of their New Year’s Day meeting.

On Saturday, Stone Murphy scored half of his 20 points in the final eight minutes, with Justyn Mutts scoring 16 points to carry Virginia Tech to its third straight win.

Virginia Tech, which led by as many as 28 points early in the second half, saw Pitt cut the deficit to 60-54 with eight minutes remaining, but the Hokies regained control. Naheim Alleyne scored 14 points for the Tech, going 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

The Hokies shot 53.8 percent (14-for-26) from 3-point range, which helped them overcome Pitt holding Tech’s leading scorer Keve Aluma to just six points — nearly 10 off his average.

“We’re playing better basketball on both ends,” Virginia coach Mile Young said. “We’re playing better basketball in all facets. We’re rebounding the ball better. We’re competing on the glass better. We’re coming up with more 50-50 balls.”

Pitt trailed by 27 at halftime after shooting 8-for-20 (40 percent) from the field and committing nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes that the Hokies converted into 15 points.

“I was really disappointed and, to be quite frank, embarrassed with how we played in the first half in all facets of the game. I was equally as proud of how we fought in the second half,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said after Pitt lost for the fifth time in its past six games. “Our guys didn’t do everything right. But there was a sense of urgency, and they played hard. We have to understand that’s what’s required for 40 minutes to have some semblance of a decent team.”

Femi Odukale scored 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including going 5-for-7 from distance, for the Panthers. Jamarius Burton had 21 points and six rebounds, while Mouhamadou Gueye added 13 points and five rebounds.

However, John Hughley, who averages a team-high 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, finished with just two points and four rebounds against Virginia Tech.

–Field Level Media

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