In its ACC opener, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team took down No. 24 Clemson 66-60 on Tuesday night inside Cassell Coliseum which marks the second consecutive season Tech has defeated the Tigers to open conference play.
The Hokies (5-1, 1-0 ACC) opened ACC play with a win for the fifth time out of six seasons against the Tigers (5-1, 0-1) and make Mike Young 3-0 against Clemson since arriving in Blacksburg.
Tech had a balanced attack on the offensive end as four Hokies reached double figures in scoring including guards Nahiem Alleyne (13 points), Tyrece Radford (15), Hunter Cattoor (11) and forward Keve Aluma (13). The Hokies had one of it’s best performances from the free-throw line in the Mike Young era as they hit 25 on the night.
In the paint, Tech dominated the glass as they outrebounded Clemson 33-25 overall and outrebounded the Tigers on both ends. The Hokies outscored the Hokies 24-14 in paint points.
On the defensive end, Tech proved yet again that defense is its strong suit as it forced Clemson to commit 13 turnovers which are tied for second-most Tech has forced this season. The Hokies capitalized on those mistakes with 17 points off turnovers. The Tigers were held to just 38% from the field and only scored 60 points which is their second-lowest point total this year.
For the first points of the game, sophomore Alleyne drilled a 3-pointer followed by an and-1 from redshirt-sophomore Radford to give the Hokies an early 6-0 lead. Tech led for a large portion of the first half until the Tigers took a 24-23 lead with 2:37 left in the half.
With just under two minutes to go in the first, Alleyne nailed another triple to reclaim the Hokie advantage. Forward Cordell Pemsl finished off the old fashioned three-point play with just seconds left to send Tech into the break with a 32-27 lead.
To open the second half, the Hokies went on a 13-2 run which was capped off by a jumper from sophomore Alleyne to give Tech its largest lead of the game at 45-29. The Tigers picked up a full-court defense and started to inch back into the game and cut the lead down to 49-43 with just under nine minutes of action left.
Key defensive stops down the stretch followed by a slam dunk from forward Aluma put Tech back up by double-digits at 57-49. The Tigers attempted a late surge and even cut the lead to just one possession but sophomore Radford finished off a clutch layup to propel Tech to the 66-60 win