Virginia Tech entered this season hoping to remedy its dependence on Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla.
But Friday night in a nip-and-tuck loss to South Carolina, there were Cattoor and Pedulla as the Hokies’ backcourt constants, playing 40 and 38 minutes, respectively.
When Virginia Tech (1-1) hosts Campbell (1-1) in non-conference action Wednesday night in Blacksburg, Va., the Hokies hope to lighten the workload of their top two players.
Virginia Tech anticipated having backcourt help this season from Rodney Rice, one of the most highly recruited players in program history. But Rice left the team two weeks before Virginia Tech’s opening game, announcing he will transfer.
Rice’s departure left the Hokies in the same situation as last season, when they expected Rice to excel, but injuries limited him to eight games.
On Friday in the Hall of Fame Series in Charlotte, N.C., Pedulla tallied 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
His 22 points in the second half sparked the Hokies’ rally from 10 points down. But his turnover on the Hokies’ final possession ended their hopes against the Gamecocks, who were picked in the preseason to finish last in the Southeastern Conference.
“Picked up my dribble,” Pedulla said. “Kinda froze up and then turned the ball over.”
Campbell will arrive in Blacksburg coming off a 77-63 loss Saturday at East Carolina despite a career-high 35 points from Anthony Dell’Orso.
As the Big South Conference Freshman of the Year, Dell’Orso played a big role as Campbell advanced to the conference championship game last year. The Camels have since moved to the Coastal Athletic Conference.
Dell’Orso, who is from Australia, is one of seven international players on the Campbell roster, including starters Gediminas Mokseckas and Laurynas Vaistaras, both from Lithuania.
Said Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan: “Virginia Tech will be an incredible experience. Cassell (Coliseum) is special and probably one of the more underrated basketball environments that I’ve been in.”
Virginia Tech is 5-0 all-time against Campbell.
–Field Level Media
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