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January 5, 2013Sign-up for HokieHaven.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The slump continues and again, Virginia Tech's opponent scorched the nets.
Maryland led from the game's first basket to finish as the Terrapins easily dispatched Virginia Tech 94-71 in the ACC opener for both teams. The Hokies got 28 points from senior guard Erick Green but it wasn't nearly enough as they've lost five of their last seven games following a 7-0 start to the season.
"Going into ACC play, you've gotta have more guys playing well and more consistent," coach James Johnson said. "We just haven't had that in the last couple of games and definitely didn't have it tonight. In ACC play, teams are very familiar with your personnel. Thirteen games in, there's a scouting report on every player and we need more guys to play consistent and more guys to step up and make plays for us."
Already a man down as freshman forward Marshall Wood is recovering from a bone in his foot, Virginia Tech was down one more. Sophomore forward C.J. Barksdale also sat out the game because of a decision by Johnson.
"One of the things I've been talking about is effort and competing and playing hard," Johnson said. "Right now, we've got some guys that are giving more effort and playing harder than C.J. right now."
Maryland got off to a hot shooting start and stayed there throughout the first half. The Terrapins jumped out to a 13-4 lead that forced a Virginia Tech timeout with 16:31 to play. Freshman guard Jake Layman was the early star for Maryland, with a three-pointer, a dunk and a tip-in for that lead.
The Hokies hung around and with a three-pointer from sophomore guard Marquis Rankin, three free throws from Green (after being fouled on a three-pointer) and a putback by junior Cadarian Raines, trailed just 26-22 with 9:55 left.
Virginia Tech cut the deficit to 34-31 after three-pointers by sophomore guard Robert Brown and Green. But then the Terps took off. Maryland finished the half on a 19-6 run to take a 53-37 lead into halftime. The Terps shot 55.6 percent from the floor in the half, including 7 of 14 three-pointers.
The Hokies shot 38.2 percent in the opening frame, but went just 2-9 from behind the arc.
Maryland didn't cool off much in the second half, extending the lead to 65-43 with 13:10 to play.
"We contested most of their shots, but they were still hitting them," Green said. "They were on fire as a team and we couldn't find a way to stop that."
Virginia Tech found some life midway through the half, when Green hit a pair of threes and the Hokies made use of a few turnovers. With 9:55 to play, the lead was cut to 69-58.
But the Terps regained control and took an 89-65 lead with 4:14 to go after six straight points by freshman guard Seth Allen.
Virginia Tech falls to 9-5 on the season, 0-1 in the ACC. Aside from Green, Brown scored 11 points, while redshirt freshman forward Joey van Zegeren added 10.
Now, it's a matter of bouncing back, despite three straight losses of 23 points or more and despite a bench that continues to shrink with the loss of players.
"They're playing and practicing hard," Johnson said. "I can't ask for much more than that. As long as we work hard in practice and want to get better, that's what they've been doing. I think we are going to come in, learn from the film and we're going to work hard. That's what they did in the past so I expect them to do the same."