In a game that found the Huskies looking like two different teams, they came up short in their 73-61 comeback bid.
During the first half, the Huskies usual “Achilles heel” came back to bite them again with arctic cold shooting in the forecast.
The Huskies couldn’t buy a basket in the first half as they finished with only 21 points at the halftime mark, and were searching for answers.
From behind the arc, the Huskies finished the first half going 2 for 11 at a percentage of 18.2%. From the field, they finished the half shooting 8 for 29 with a 27.6 percentile.
Virginia Tech is an elite basketball team, and putting up an extreme low amount of points just wasn’t going to cut it for the Huskies.
The Huskies didn’t have one single player in double digits at halftime. They were led by sophomore forward Nahziah Carter with 8 points off the bench.
In the second half, the Huskies decided to show up and make a game out of it. They were a completely different team than the first half version.
The team that couldn’t throw one into the ocean in the first half was suddenly making all of their baskets to start the half.
Remarkably, the Huskies made their first six shots of the second half and went on a big momentum run of their own. They had suddenly started to settle into the game.
After watching the first half, the moment seemed like it was too big for the Huskies, which was reminiscent of the Auburn game earlier this season.
With 14:52 left in the game, the Huskies had finally cut the game to single digits trailing 48-39, with evident signs of life emerging.
The Huskies 2-3 zone was starting to slow down the Hokies, which allowed the Huskies to mount a few charges of their own in the second half.
Score wise, the closest the Huskies came to turning the game around was at the 8:48 mark, when sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell cut the lead to just 7 points.
Every time the Huskies would make a surge, the Hokies had an answer of their own to counter and keep Washington at bay.
“I wish our energy level would have been the same at Penn State as it was tonight,” Hokies coach Buzz Williams said. “I think we learned a lesson in this game. We had a much higher level of togetherness.”
In the end, the Huskies come back was “too little, too late” and their bid for a huge upset this season fell short once again.
“This was a great experience for us,” Huskies coach Mike Hopkins said. “We made the adjustments that we needed to make, but we can’t wait 20 minutes to figure that out.”
So far this season, the Huskies have lost to Auburn, Gonzaga and Virginia Tech, which were prime opportunities to impress the “NCAA Tournament Committee”.
The Huskies were led on the night by senior guard Matisse Thybulle who finished with 16 points, while hitting 5 three-pointers.
Virginia Tech was led by sophomore guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker who finished with 24 points and 3 assists.
“When we face adversity, we know how to handle it,” Alexander-Walker said. “We handle it together instead of separating and getting tense when things don’t go our way.”
The Huskies (7-4), return to the court later next week, for a home game at Alaska Airlines Arena. The Huskies will face the Sacramento State Hornets and the game will be played Friday, December 21st at 6:00pm PST. It will be a chance for the Huskies to play in front of the home crowd and fine tune their game.