Virginia Tech likely didn’t want to see another Charleston on its schedule.
Five days after losing to the College of Charleston in the Charleston Classic, the Hokies will take on another school from, yes, Charleston.
But Friday’s game against Charleston Southern (2-2) doesn’t figure to be as difficult an assignment for Virginia Tech (5-1). The environment will be decidedly more welcoming at home in Blacksburg, Va.
On Sunday, the Hokies were on the verge of capturing the Charleston Classic title. They led College of Charleston by seven points with six minutes left.
But the Cougars of the Colonial Athletic Association made eight of their final 10 shots to win 77-75 and take advantage of their rare opportunity to play a major conference team on their home floor.
“Not what you would sign up for, but I knew it was their year to be in (the tournament),” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “They earned their way in.”
The Hokies welcome a return home, where they will play their next four games, including an anticipated Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Dec. 4 against No. 1 North Carolina.
At home, Virginia Tech has made 35 of 78 (44.9 percent) of its 3-point attempts. In their final two games in Charleston, the Hokies connected on just 9 of 46 (19.6 percent) from long distance.
Sean Pedulla leads Virginia Tech in points (17.5 per game) and assists (4.5 per game). Justyn Mutts, who made the all-tournament team at the Charleston Classic, continues to fill the stat sheet with averages of 11 points, 9.2 rebounds and four assists.
Charleston Southern of the Big South will counter with top scorer Claudell Harris Jr. (19.8 points per game) and Taje’ Kelly, who averages 11.8 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds. Last year’s top scorer, Tahlik Chavez, is scoring at an 11-point clip.
The Buccaneers are coming off a 78-63 win over Bethune-Cookman on Monday, when Harris scored 22 points off the bench, hitting five treys. Charleston Southern’s toughest test came two weeks ago, an 82-56 loss at Ohio State.
“The Big South is always a grind,” coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We try to play similar styles to what we see in our league to prepare us better for the most important part of our schedule.”
Virginia Tech leads the series 6-0 with an average victory margin of 27.2 points.
–Field Level Media