When Virginia Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in the summer of 2004, some of the old guard doubted the Hokies could ever win a league title.
Judging from what’s happened in the first third of the conference schedule, the skeptics could be proved wrong. A 64-60 win at Wake Forest on Sunday boosted the 16th-ranked Hokies to 11-2 overall and 5-1 in the ACC, only a half-game behind Virginia for first place.
And with lowly Boston College (3-10, 1-6) visiting Blacksburg, Va., on Wednesday for a conference contest, followed by road games against two more teams with sub-.500 ACC records, Syracuse and Notre Dame, Virginia Tech appears to be in good shape to add to its stretch of seven wins in eight games.
“It is a true team and they don’t care who gets the credit,” Hokies coach Mike Young said. “And that is a fun group to be a part of.”
Making it more fun is that Virginia Tech has shown the ability to win in a variety of ways, including at Wake Forest. The Hokies weren’t strong with the ball at times and the Demon Deacons battled hard, but Virginia Tech did enough to gut one out.
Tyrece Radford led the way with 20 points, which on the heels of his 18-point, 12-rebound outing against Duke was enough to earn him ACC Co-Player of the Week. The Hokies also got 13 points each from Hunter Cattoor and freshman David N’Guessan.
“We won, and the last time I checked, that’s the only thing that matters,” Young said. “I’m proud of them.”
Keve Aluma (14.8 ppg) and Jalen Cone (11.7) are Virginia Tech’s leading scorers despite a rough game at Wake. They combined for five points — all by Aluma. Radford chips in 11.2 ppg.
As for Boston College, it continued to have problems with first-shot defense Saturday in an 80-70 loss at Notre Dame. The Eagles allowed the Fighting Irish, who haven’t drawn any comparisons to Gonzaga’s offensive machine this season, to hit 47.7 percent from the field and can 14 of 31 3-point attempts (45.2 percent).
And that was actually a better-than-normal performance for Boston College. Opponents are shooting a whopping 48.3 percent from the field.
“As the game wore on, whether it was because of fatigue or lack of communication, I thought we got them going in the transition game,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “Guys have to stay focused. You just can’t leave guys wide open like that on the road.”
Steffon Mitchell supplied 16 points and 13 rebounds for Boston College, the 15th double-double of his career. Jay Heath and Wynston Tabbs each scored 14 points, but the Eagles just couldn’t make up for a lack of defense.
Heath (13.6 ppg) and Tabbs (13.3) lead the Boston College attack, which has relied heavily on the 3-pointer. The Eagles average 9.5 3-point makes per game, hitting 17 when they routed Miami 84-62 on Jan. 12.
Boston College leads the all-time series 20-13, dating to the teams’ days as members of the Big East Conference.
–Field Level Media