BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech lost 64-63 to USC Upstate in men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum. This was the season-opener for both teams.
The game was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than six points. Tech took a 15-9 lead on a 3-pointer by freshman Ben Emelogu with 13:33 remaining in the first half. The game was tied at 23 with 5:45 remaining before intermission, and the lead flipped back and forth for the rest of the half. The Spartans took a 33-31 lead into the locker room.
Upstate opened the second half on a 10-7 run and took a 43-38 lead with 16:40 remaining on a jumper by Ty Greene, but the Hokies were able to reclaim the lead and took a 58-53 lead with 8:51 remaining on a 3-pointer by Will Johnston. Upstate then went ahead 60-58 with 7:04 remaining on a lay-up by Torrey Craig. Following a lay-up by Tech senior Cadarian Raines to tie the game at 62 with 4:09 to play, the Hokies could manage only one free throw by senior Jarell Eddie in the final four minutes.
With USC Upstate leading 64-63 in the final minute, the Hokies were able to get a few chances to take the lead, but all fell short and the Spartans claimed the victory.
Eddie led all scorers with 18 points and led Tech with seven rebounds. Raines, who was held scoreless in the first half, tallied a career-high 17 points and grabbed four rebounds. Redshirt sophomore Joey van Zegeren also grabbed seven rebounds in the loss and recorded a career-high five blocked shots. Green led the Spartans with 17 points and Craig added 13 points. Ricardo Glenn had 10 points, and Jodd Maxey grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Hokies held the Spartans to just 37.5 percent from the floor and just five of 16 from beyond the 3-point arc (31.3 percent). Tech shot 39 percent from the field, including 36.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The rebounds were even at 39. The Hokies made just nine of 18 free-throw attempts, including 5 of 13 in the second half.
Tech returns to action on Tuesday afternoon, as it plays a rare 1 p.m., mid-week game against West Virginia. The game will be played in Cassell Coliseum and televised nationally as part of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon on ESPN.
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