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February 9, 2013

Green Dehydrated In Loss To GT

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Senior guard Erick Green had a quality start to today's game. But his ending wasn't quite as strong, physically.

Green had 12 points in the first half and finished with 26 points. For everyone not named Erick Green for the Hokies, it was a miserable day.

Frustrations are mounting for Virginia Tech, which saw junior forward Jarell Eddie cause a delay in the second half when his slammed water bottle spilled on the court. Georgia Tech started off hot and though it slowed down in the second half, held on for a 64-54 lead.

Towards the end of the game Green looked in a daze and woozy on the bench in the final seconds. He had to be helped off the court by teammates with his arms draped around their shoulders.

According to Hokies staff Green was dehydrated, though he was given plenty of water and Gatorade in lieu of going to the hospital and is expected to be fine.

Coach James Johnson was anything but fine after the game. As media waited outside the Virginia Tech locker room, Johnson could be heard screaming inside at his players.

"We've just gotta do a better job of finishing games," he said. "We've gotta have some other guys step up and play, but I thought we had some guys that fought. I just didn't think we had it in our legs tonight. But the message was we've gotta have some guys playing better and we've gotta keep on fighting."

Though sophomore forward C.J. Barksdale hit a free throw, the Hokies didn't hit a field goal until Green drove into the lane for a jumper with 12:52 to go in the first half. The futility didn't get any better either.

Coming off a 9 p.m. tip-off Thursday in a loss to Maryland, Johnson said that had plenty to do with the early struggles.

"It affected us," Johnson said. "It's not an excuse. Everybody's gotta go through it in the league. It is what it is, but it did affect us with the short bench."

The Yellow Jackets took full advantage, taking a 31-10 lead 3:30 to go. For all the misses, sophomore guard Robert Brown cooly knocked down a three-pointer in the final seconds of the half for a 37-18 deficit.

"We're finding other people and other people are getting good shots," Brown said. "But people aren't hitting shots and when they are hitting, defensively, they're not going a good job of finding people and adjusting."

While Georgia Tech shot 48.3 percent from the floor, Virginia Tech hit an abysmal 20.7 percent from the floor.

Junior forward Cadarian Raines got the second half started in a positive manner for the Hokies, with a pair of baskets in the paint. But the frustration reared its head just a few minutes into the second half. Eddie picked up two quick fouls and as he headed to the bench, slammed a water bottle down on the floor in disgust. The bottle opened as water and ice spilled onto the court causing a short delay in the game to clean up the mess.

"My take is that I'm trying to build a program and (there's) certain conducts, certain expectations that I have for these guys on and off the floor," Johnson said. "I've got high expectations for these guys on and off the floor and it was just a mistake. He let his play frustrate him and it got to him for a brief moment. He's alright, but that's something that we've gotta move on, when we talk about moving on to the next play, moving on to the next game."

Green gave Virginia Tech a bit of life after a jumper and runner plus a foul and free throw cut the deficit to 47-30 with 15:19 to go.

"I know sometimes it goes, your record determines...but he's the player of the year in this league," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said about Green. "I think we get to vote now, not just you media guys. We actually get a vote now...but he's getting my vote because he's been trmendous all year long. He's not just a scorer. He creates shots for other people, he's unselfish, he plays hard every play, he's a very good defender. I really respect the kid and he's what college basketball is supposed to be about."

A three-pointer by sophomore walk-on Will Johnston gave the Hokies the most life they'd seen in the game with 12:41 to go that forced at Yellow Jackets timeout and made the score 47-33.

Virginia Tech made it a 15-1 run as Georgia Tech went over nine minutes without making a field goal. That stretch ended with a Yellow Jackets three-pointer by freshman forward Robert Carter Jr. with 7:14 to play that pushed the lead to 51-37.

A three-pointer by freshman forward Marshall Wood cut that down to 56-45 with four minutes to go, but Georgia Tech responded with four straight points. Down the stretch, the Hokies couldn't close the gap, getting as close as 60-52.

It's now a six-game losing streak for Virginia Tech, which has fallen below .500 at 11-12 overall. The Hokies are also 2-8 in the ACC, the worst mark in the conference.

"I think we're better than a couple of teams and we should've beaten a couple of good teams," Brown said. "We should've pulled out Miami and Carolina. We just need more from more guys and we need to play better at the end of the game. A lot of times, we have a lead going into the second half and that's when we've gotta tighten up. The last four minutes, last eight minutes, we've gotta play smarter."

Virginia Tech returns to action on Tuesday at Virginia. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m.

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