NC State's huge rally comes up short against Virginia Tech 62-59

Thursday, January 20, 2022
Jericole Hellems led the Wolfpack with 15 points.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Justyn Mutts scored 13 points, Keve Aluma had a double-double and Sean Pedulla made two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to help Virginia Tech hold off North Carolina State 62-59 on Wednesday night.

NC State came out flat and trailed 13-0 to start the game and went down 19-2 midway through the second half. The Wolfpack clawed to within 35-21 at halftime and battled back to close within 55-53 on a 3-pointer by Jericole Hellems with 5:33 remaining.

Mutts answered with a layup and Storm Murphy followed with a 3-pointer to push the Hokies' lead to 60-53 with 2:16 left. Derion Seabron hit a jumper off a missed free throw, stole the ball and dunked and stole the ball again and made a layup as the Wolfpack used five straight turnovers by Hokies point guard Nahiem Alleyne to get within a point with 21 seconds to go.

Pedulla subbed in for Alleyne was fouled by Terquavion Smith and made both free throws. Smith missed a 3 at the buzzer for NC State that would have sent the game to overtime.

Aluma finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for Virginia Tech (10-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference). Alleyne scored nine on 3-of-14 shooting with six rebounds. All five of his turnovers came in a span of 55 seconds.

Hellems scored 15 to pace NC State (9-10, 2-6). Smith scored 14, but he made just 4 of 13 from distance. Seabron finished with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and five of the Wolfpack's nine turnovers. Casey Morsell came off the bench to score 11, nailing 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.

The Wolfpack announced before the game that freshman forward Ernest Ross will need surgery and miss the rest of the season after fracturing his right ankle in practice.

NC State looks to rebound at home against Virginia on Saturday.