Mutts’ near triple double sends Va. Tech past Syracuse
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Grant Basile scored 25 points and Hunter Catoor scored 20 points and Virginia Tech used the first half to blow past Syracuse for an 85-70 win on Saturday night.
Catoor made five of his six 3-pointers in the first half and 6-foot-7 forward Justyn Mutts finished two assists short of a triple-double, distributing eight as he effectively penetrated Syracuse’s zone and kicked to open shooters. Mutts scored 11 points and had 12 rebounds and Michael Collins Jr. scored 11.
Virginia Tech (13-8, 3-7 ACC) distributed 26 assists on 32-made field goals. The Hokies shot 53.3% (32 of 60).
The Hokies shot 11 of 20 from 3-point range in the first half, saw three starters enter double digits in scoring and led 52-33 at halftime.
By comparison, the Orange shot 11 for 23 overall before intermission. The Hokies entered the game with a 43-9 record over the last three seasons when leading at halftime.
Judah Mintz’s jumper brought Syracuse within 65-53 nine minutes into the second half, but Mutts threw down a dunk, Basile had a pair of layups and Syracuse failed to score in a little more than two minutes and Virginia Tech extended its lead to 18.
Mintz scored 21 points for the Orange (13-9, 6-5), reserve Justin Taylor scored 12 and Maliq Brown 11. Joe Girard didn’t score his first field goal until 7:12 remaining. He finished with seven points.
Syracuse — which has lost three of four — hosts No. 7 Virginia on Monday. The Hokies now have won consecutive games following a seven-game losing streak. They travel to play No. 20 Miami on Tuesday.
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