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November 15, 2012

Hokies Run Past VMI 95-80

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Virginia Tech coach James Johnson didn't have to do too much yelling from his perch between the Hokies bench and the scorer's table.

He shouted at senior Erick Green late in the first half against Virginia Military Institute to look to his left. Green obliged, hitting a wide open freshman forward Marshall Wood, who promptly nailed a three-pointer from the left corner.

The basket gave the Hokies a commanding lead they wouldn't relinquish. Both teams pushed the ball and played fast-paced, but Virginia Tech made more of its baskets in the up-tempo style and cruised for a 95-80 win at Cassell Coliseum.

"I think guys are buying into (the offense)," Johnson said. "They're doing a very good job at doing it. When you talk about running and you talk about playing fast, everybody wants to play that way, but conditioning-wise, it's tough to do."

Green led the attack with 23 points while junior forward Jarell Eddie added 17 points. All five starters scored in double-figures.

"I'm not really putting pressure on myself," Green said. "I don't really care, honestly, how many points I put up. I'm just playing the game. My teammates gave me the ball in great spots for me to hit my shots and make moves."

VMI opened the game on a hot streak on a pair of three-pointers by junior guard Rodney Glasgow. The Hokies quickly responded and tied the game at 12.

Both teams pushed the pace, with the first media timeout not coming until 12:54 left in the first half. Virginia Tech played about as well as it could have hoped, doubling up the Keydets at 42-21 at the 4:35 media timeout.

VMI cut the deficit to 46-30 at halftime, but the Hokies still shot impressively from the floor and moved the ball around just as well. Virginia Tech shot 51.4 percent from the floor, including hitting seven of 113 three-pointers.

The Hokies picked up where they left off to open the second half, pushing the lead to 64-37 with 15:19 left as Eddie connected on a pair of three-pointers and a transition layup. The lead was as much as 70-41 with just under 12 minutes to play on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Robert Brown.

The foot never came off the gas pedal for the Hokies, who pushed the lead to 88-57 with just over five minutes remaining. But with the game seemingly in hand, all five starters substituted out of the game and the Keydets made a subsequent 16-0 run.

"I don't know if it's frustrating," Johnson said. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do you've gotta do, make your decisions to try to win the ball game. Those guys, if they've gotta come back in, when we take them out, we tell those guys too, to stay involved in the game.

"I'm not frustrated to have brought them back in, just would have wanted that group to play better."

All Virginia Tech five starters came back on the floor, to dash any comeback hope for VMI, but the lapse at the end was the only thing keeping the game from being an A-performance for the Hokies.

"The way we finished the game wasn't good enough," Green said. "In the ACC, a team like Carolina, Duke, NC State, a good team in the ACC would've come back and probably gotten us, so I can't give us an A. I'd probably give us a B. We played a great game til the end."

Next up, Virginia Tech (3-0), travels to UNC-Greensboro for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Monday.



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