Hokies win men’s basketball season opener, debut of head coach Mike Young

Virginia Tech men’s hoops (Courtesy: HokieSports.com)

CLEMSON, SC (HokieSports.com) – Landers Nolley II scored a game-high 30 points, and Virginia Tech made all the big plays down the stretch to knock off Clemson 67-60 in an ACC game at Littlejohn Coliseum that marked the season opener for both teams.

The Hokies’ performance made a winner of Mike Young in his debut as the Virginia Tech head coach. The victory also marked the 300th over Young’s coaching career – 299 of which came during his tenure at Wofford.

Nolley made 12 of 23 from the floor in his collegiate debut, including four 3-pointers. He scored 18 of those in the first half, enabling the Hokies to stay within striking distance.

In the second half, Clemson led 50-49 after a basket by Aamir Simms with 6:19 remaining, but the Hokies scored the next six points – with the final four coming on a basket by Nolley with 4:59 to go and two free throws with 4:08 remaining. The Hokies never relinquished the lead again.

Arguably the biggest play in the game came with a little more than a minute to go. Clemson trapped Tech’s Hunter Cattoor in the corner, and Cattoor threw a pass that was deflected a couple of times. Wabissa Bede came up with it, and he kicked it ahead to P.J. Horne, who scored on a breakaway dunk and was fouled. Horne made the free throw to give the Hokies a 60-57 lead with 1:03 remaining.

Bede made another big play moments later, blocking a 3-point attempt by Clemson’s Al-Amir Dawes. He grabbed the loose ball and pushed it ahead to Tyrece Radford, whose layup with 39 seconds gave the Hokies a 62-57 lead.

Tech then made five of its six free-throw attempts in the final 35 seconds to seal the win.

Nahiem Alleyne added 11 points for the Hokies, who shot just 38.6 percent from the floor. Bede finished with seven points and six assists.

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