Watch Now:

Iowa State and Virginia Tech each got off to a slow start in its first-round matchup at the ESPN Events Invitational on Thursday in Kissimmee, Fla.

Luckily for the Cyclones and the Hokies, second-half rallies propelled them to a semifinal date on Friday.

Iowa State (5-0) trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before making a late push for a 68-64 comeback win over VCU.

"It certainly wasn't pretty," Cyclones coach T.J. Otzelberger said on the Varsity Network postgame radio show. "I thought our guys were doing a good job getting the attempts they wanted in the paint. They disrupted us early, and we just kind of calmed down and slowed down in the second half."

Otzelberger's team struggled to find its long-distance shooting range, making just 2 of 13 3-point attempts. Iowa State also struggled at the free-throw line, hitting just 18 of 30 foul shots (60 percent).

Despite the poor shooting, Iowa State held a sizable advantage on the offensive glass, with 17 offensive boards to VCU's five.

Virginia Tech (4-1) faced a similar uphill battle against Boise State, as the Hokies trailed 14-2 just 3 1/2 minutes into the game. Led by fifth-year senior Hunter Cattoor, the Hokies battled their way back for a 82-75 victory.

Cattoor, who had 19 points due in part to 5-for-10 3-point shooting, set Virginia Tech's all-time 3-point record with 270 career triples.

Coach Mike Young recruited Cattoor at his previous spot at Wofford before convincing the sharpshooter to join him at Virginia Tech in 2019, but Young never could have anticipated his recruit to break such a record.

"I was hoping he would just get on the floor at some point in his career," Young said with a laugh. "I'm awfully proud of him. Pleasure, privilege to coach him."

Cattoor is shooting 46.3 percent (19-for-41) from beyond the arc this season, better than his 42.1 percent career rate.

--Field Level Media

Copyright 2024 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.