Virginia Tech scores massive upset of #3 Michigan State, 71-66

virginia tech sportsVirginia Tech was picked to finish 14th in the 15-team ACC ahead of the 2019-2020 season, and even that may have been generous, given what the Hokies had lost from their Sweet Sixteen team.

Well, it’s time to change those expectations.

Landers Nolley had 22 points, including a three with 50 seconds left after Michigan State had pulled within one, as the Hokies upset the third-ranked Spartans, 71-66, in the opening round of the Maui Invitational on Monday.

Virginia Tech (6-0) led by as many as 10 in the second half, but Michigan State (3-2) rallied to get within one on a three-pointer by Aaron Henry with 1:15 to go.

Nolley freed himself running off a screen to the right wing, then calmly drained the open three with 50 seconds left to push the lead to four.

A Kyle Ahrens layup at the 41-second mark got it back to 68-66.

Wabissa Bede went 1-for-2 from the line on three trips around misses by Cassius Winston in the lane and Xavier Tillman on an open three from the top of the key.

Nolley finished with a game-high 22 points on 5-of-12 shooting, including a 4-of-6 effort from three and 8-of-8 from the line.

P.J. Horne had 12 points and seven rebounds, and Bede added 11 points and five assists.

The Hokies were 10-of-21 from three, and are shooting a cool 42.9 percent from behind the arc for the season.

Henry had 18 points to lead Michigan State, which only got seven points and two assists from Winston, a preseason national player of the year favorite, who was saddled throughout the game with foul trouble, and only got 25 minutes of playing time in the loss.

Pity poor ESPN, which won’t get the Michigan State-Kansas matchup that had seemed preordained, unless the Jayhawks lose later on Monday to Chaminade.

Story by Chris Graham

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