BLACKSBURG – In the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the No. 15 Virginia Tech men’s basketball team fell to Penn State 75-55 in Cassell Coliseum, ending the Hokies nonconference home winning streak at 35 games.
The Hokies (4-1) could not get it done against Nittany Lions (3-1) in the fourth meeting between the two programs in the challenge, with Penn State improving to 4-0 against Tech in the challenge, although Tech does still lead the overall series at 6-4.
Penn State received key offensive performances from junior Izaiah Brockington, who recorded a career-high 24 points and also tied a season high in rebounds with eight. Three other Penn State players reached double figures in scoring, including Myreon Jones (14 points), Myles Dread (11) and Sam Sessoms (10). The Nittany Lions hit 12 triples, which is the most an opponent has made against Tech all season.
On the defensive end, Penn State forced Tech to commit 14 turnovers, which is tied for the most all season and the Nittany Lions scored 22 points off those mistakes. Penn State also came up with six steals and six blocks and held Tech to its lowest point total of the season with 55 on the night.
Despite the loss, sophomore Jalen Cone had his breakout performance of the season, as he earned his season high in points with 11. Tech out-rebounded Penn State 39-33 and recorded 15 offensive rebounds for the second straight outing. The Hokies bench scored 26 points, which is their second-highest total of the season and the third outing this year Tech has had 25 or more points off the bench.
With the Hokies trailing early, Cone came off the bench and hit two triples along with a jumper to bring Tech within single-digits at 21-13. The Nittany Lions answered each run that Tech attempted to spark, though, as Penn State stretched its lead to 37-20 with just a few minutes left in the half. Guard Tyrece Radford finished off a driving layup to close out the half, as the Hokies entered the half down 42-23.
The Hokies and Nittany Lions came out of the gate trading baskets early on in the second. Penn State would then go on a 13-4 run to put them up 58-31 at the 15-minute mark. The Nittany Lions would not look back, as they would control the rest of the contest and go on to win 75-55.
– Forward Aluma tied his season high in rebounds for the second straight game with 12 on the night.
– Cone nailed a season-high three triples in the loss against Penn State.
– Freshman David N’Guessan tallied his career high at Tech in points with five and dished out his first-ever assist as a Hokie.
– Tech tied a season high in offensive rebounds with 15 for the second straight game which marks the third time it’s happened in the Mike Young era (15 vs. VMI 12/3/20), (19 vs. UMES 12/29/19).
The Hokies will stay at home to take on Clemson in their ACC opener on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. ET inside Cassell Coliseum.