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January 24, 2013

Non-Offensive VT Can't Slow Down UVA

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So much for slow-it down grind it out basketball.

After trailing by seven early, Virginia quickly changed pace and never trailed again. Despite a career-high 35 points by senior Erick Green, Virginia Tech couldn't catch up and fell 74-58.

While Green was a proficient 11 of 18 shooting from the floor, his teammates combined to shoot just 8 of 25.

"They had some good shots, just the ball wasn't falling for them tonight," Green said. "That's all. We're gonna get it together and the next game, one of them is gonna step up and we'll have a couple of guys step up and make some plays."

Virginia Tech started off strong and was able to force an up-tempo style in the first half. The Hokies even got a lift from freshman forward Marshall Wood, who checked into the game with 13:21 to go in the half. It was his first action since fracturing a bone in his left foot against Georgia Southern and missing the following seven games.

Wood still looked like a fawn at times, fumbling a pass out of bounds just before the 11:01 media timeout. Virginia Tech built a 17-10 lead after a 6-2 run capped by a long jumper by Green.

But like Wood's fawn-like start, the Hokies soon gave the lead back in a hurry. The Cavaliers retook the lead at 20-19 on a three-pointer by junior guard Joe Harris. But Virginia wasn't done, as another three-pointer capped a 15-2 run by the Cavaliers and forced a Virginia Tech timeout with 4:30 to play.

The run continued, growing to a 24-2 run that had the Cavaliers up 34-19 with two minutes left in the half. The Hokies salvaged some momentum with a 6-0 run to close the half, as Green nailed a deep jumper from inside the arc just before the buzzer.

"They did a fantastic job stopping us in transition and in the half-court set, making us work really hard and pressuring the ball where they could," said sophomore guard Robert Brown, himself scoreless for the game. "The credit goes to them. They played fantastic."

Virginia picked back up where it left off in the second half, building a 49-34 after a steal by freshman guard Justin Anderson led to a fast-break slam by freshman forward Mike Tobey. Virginia Tech sliced into the lead at 49-37, but missed a big momentum opportunity when redshirt freshman forward Joey Van Zegeren was called for a charging foul on a big-time fast-break slam dunk.

Green did his best to keep the Hokies in the game, including a three-pointer to make the deficit 59-47 with 4:45 to go. His runner with two minutes to go cut the deficit to 67-56, but his career-high 35 points wasn't nearly enough as none of his teammates could get going.

"It just didn't go down for them," coach James Johnson said. "(Jarell Eddie) shoots 2 for 11 and Brown is still in a little bit of a funk right now. We've gotta find a way to get him out of it. He and Eddie are both capable scorers, they just didn't do it tonight and Brown hasn't been doing it."

Still, Green is confident in his teammates, even after a poor game from just about everyone not named Erick Green for Virginia Tech.

"You've gotta keep faith," Green said. "These guys are gonna come. We've still got some time left, 13 games left, that's plenty of time. I've still got faith in all these guys and they're gonna come along. It's just gonna take a little bit."

The Hokies fall to 11-7, 2-3 in the ACC and play at Clemson at 1 pm ET Sunday.


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