Virginia Tech staves off upset bid from Charleston Southern

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Justyn Mutts finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Virginia Tech withstood a determined challenge from Charleston Southern in a 69-64 victory Friday night in Blacksburg, Va.

Sean Pedulla scored 15 points and Darius Maddox added 12 as the Hokies (6-1) survived a game that was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than six points.

Mutts was the dominant figure down the stretch. In the final 4:10, he scored seven of the Hokies’ 11 points. He also fed Lynn Kidd (11 points, eight rebounds) for a slam dunk with 1:22 left that gave Virginia Tech the lead for good, 66-64.

With three seconds left, Hunter Cattoor sewed it up with a pair of free throws.

Charleston Southern (2-3) was gunning for one of its biggest wins in program history and its first victory in seven meetings with the Hokies.

Claudell Harris Jr. scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, and Taje’ Kelly powered inside for 16 points and nine rebounds for the Buccaneers.

Tahlik Chavez added 12 points and Tyeree Bryan contributed 11 points, and they combined for seven 3-pointers.

The Buccaneers made eight of their first 16 attempts from distance before missing their final six, including three in the final half-minute.

A 3-pointer by Chavez gave Charleston Southern its biggest lead of the first half, 14-8.

But Virginia Tech answered with an 11-1 run, holding the Buccaneers without a field goal for nearly four minutes. Cattoor made a 3-pointer during the spree and Pedulla added two buckets as the Hokies went up 19-15.

Charleston Southern had an immediate response with consecutive 3-pointers from Tres Berry and Bryan.

A 3-pointer by Grant Basile, followed by a three-point-play jumper in the lane by Mutts gave Virginia Tech its biggest lead of the half, 27-21.

But the Buccaneers responded again with treys by Chavez and Bryan.

When Kidd powered inside for a timely three-point-play with just three-tenths of a second, it gave the Hokies a 37-33 halftime lead.

The game stayed tight throughout the second half. Virginia Tech scored six straight points to take a 60-56 lead with 4:10 left.

But Kelly grinded inside for back-to-back baskets to keep the hopes alive for the Buccaneers.

– Field Level Media

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