• 88°

Nolley II, Virginia Tech cruise past Wolfpack, 72-58

JIMMY ROBERTSON Associated Press
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech was picked to finish 14th in the 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference, but so far this season, the Hokies aren’t exactly the league pushover that many expected coming in.
Truthfully, the Hokies are quickly becoming a team that no one wants to play.
They showed that again Saturday, as Landers Nolley II scored 29 points to lead Virginia Tech to a 72-58 victory over NC State — the Hokies’ third ACC victory in five conference games.
“I’m not shocked. Are you kidding me?” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “Never underestimate young people. Don’t. I’m not. Never have. There is a great deal of belief in that locker room.”
The Hokies have a nice collection of talent, but more importantly, a superstar in Nolley. The redshirt freshman hit 8 of 19 from the floor for the Hokies, who won their second straight game after a 26-point loss to rival Virginia on Jan. 4. Nolley drilled four 3-pointers and hit 9 of 10 from the free-throw line en route to his second-highest scoring game this season.
Tyrece Radford added a career-high 18 points for Virginia Tech. DJ Funderburk led the Wolfpack (11-5, 2-3) with 18 points.
Virginia Tech fell behind 10-0 to start the game after the Wolfpack hit four of their first seven shots. But following a timeout, the Hokies answered with a 13-0 run and never trailed again. Nolley hit two 3-pointers in that run, including one with 13:23 left in the half that gave the Hokies their first and last lead.
“He just told us to settle down and take good shots,” Nolley said of the message during the timeout. “We were rushing, trying to match their intensity, but that’s not how we play. We had to stick to our style and get back to doing what we do – and it ended up working.”
Virginia Tech led by 40-33 at halftime, and NC State cut the lead to one in the second half on dunk by Funderburk with 12:07 remaining. But a Radford layup pushed the lead to 48-45 with 11:41 remaining and a breakaway dunk by Nolley gave the Hokies a 50-45 advantage with 9:56 to go.
Radford and Nolley put the game away three minutes later, combining to score eight points in an 11-0 Virginia Tech run that gave the Hokies a 66-52 lead – their biggest of the game.
NC State finished with season lows in points and shooting percentage (31.9%, 22 of 69). The Wolfpack made just six of their 30 3-point attempts.
“It was definitely their defense,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “They do a really good job of protecting the paint. They play similar defense as the pack line, when you drive and everybody converges. You’re going to get those shots (3-pointers), and we didn’t make them. We just didn’t. I thought we had some good looks, some great looks, and they just didn’t go down for us.”
BIG PICTURE
NC State: Leading scorer and rebounder C.J. Bryce (16.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg) missed his fourth consecutive game after suffering a blow to the head in a practice before the Wolfpack’s game against Appalachian State on Dec. 29. Bryce’s injury has left NC State with just eight scholarship players, and the Wolfpack missed him, as they couldn’t find another scorer to team with Funderburk.
Virginia Tech: Radford rarely gets any publicity, but he has become the unsung standout on this team. The team’s leading rebounder as a guard, he grabbed nine rebounds, and he is arguably the team’s best defender. He was the primary reason why NC State’s Jericole Hellems made just 2 of 14 from the floor.
MORE ON BRYCE
Bryce actually warmed up with the team before the game and even during halftime, but Keatts said that playing him wasn’t an option. Bryce has been cleared for light workouts, and with the team not scheduled to practice Sunday, Keatts wanted Bryce to get a workout in in hopes of getting him closer to being cleared for Wednesday’s game against Miami.
“I just think we’re missing another guard, and he’s a good player,” Keatts said. “I try not to make any excuses about it, but there’s not many teams that can lose their leading scorer and leading rebounder and be successful. We were against Notre Dame at home (on Wednesday), but against Clemson (on Jan. 4) and here, we could have used one more guy to score the basketball for us, and we didn’t have that.”
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE
Young hasn’t been enthralled with his team’s defense over the past month, but the Hokies were locked in Saturday. Markell Johnson, who scored 27 points in the Wolfpack’s win over Notre Dame on Wednesday, made just 2 of 14 from the floor, including 1 of 7 from beyond the arc, and Braxton Beverly missed five of his six 3-point attempts.
“I thought we were excellent,” Young said. “That’s getting something done. That’s a team playing the right way and unselfishly … If you can hold people to under 40 (percent shooting) and rebound like we are, you should be in every game. You should have a shot to win every game.”
UP NEXT
NC State: The Wolfpack play at home against Miami on Wednesday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at Wake Forest on Tuesday.
___
For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Comments

Crime

One receives severe burns, three fire trucks damaged in I-85 collision

Business

Pandemic inspired creation of Salisbury Dance Academy

Business

Staffing agencies say more jobs available than job seekers

Elections

Political notebook: Heggins calls on U.S. Senate to pass ‘HEROES’ Act

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools to sell old devices for $4.6 million

Education

North Rowan Elementary adds outdoor classroom space as schools cope with COVID-19

Crime

Car chase from Mooresville mobile home, through cornfield produce charges for two

Crime

Blotter: Law enforcement responds to more than 20 vehicles break-ins

Local

Meals on Wheels kicks off August is for AniMEALS campaign

Coronavirus

Salisbury Sheetz temporarily closed after three employees test positive

Ask Us

Ask Us: What was fate of Terrace Theatre’s time capsule?

Local

Strongest quake in a century felt by Salisbury, Rowan residents

Crime

Blotter: Pair charged with prostitution, solicitation

Local

Kannapolis woman killed, others hospitalized after early Sunday crash

News

5.1-magnitude quake hits North Carolina

Health

A symbol of hope: Wallace Cancer Institute opens this week for patients

Lifestyle

Historic Salisbury Foundation’s 2020 OctoberTour to give participants new views into old landmarks

Coronavirus

Pandemic has impacted campaigning efforts for both county Republicans, Democrats

Local

County commissioners will discuss restructuring environmental health department

Business

Kannapolis data shows proof of economic growth

Local

Marriages for April 2020

Education

Bids for Rowan-Salisbury Schools devices tops $4.5 million

Local

April 2020 corporations

Business

Wallace and Graham receive Trial Lawyer of the Year award