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First-year head coach James Johnson and his Virginia Tech Hokies continue to surprise after Saturday’s 81-71 win over No. 15 Oklahoma State in Blacksburg.
The Hokies are now 7-0 on the young season in a year where many predicted the team would be the worst in the ACC. While the season is still young, this team is vastly different on the offensive end than in past years.
Senior point guard Erick Green led the way against the Cowboys finishing with 28 points and seven rebounds. Green wasn’t alone, though, as junior forward Jarell Eddie, one of the most improved players in the ACC, chipped in with 15 points, 12 rebounds and a team-high 4 assists.
Johnson’s Hokies had to face some adversity when Green picked up two quick fouls. Green only played nine minutes in the first half and that helped Oklahoma State go into halftime with a 36-32 lead.
Sophomore guard Robert Brown, the team’s third-leading scorer, hit several big baskets in the game and finished with 18 points.
The Hokies, who entered the game averaging 38 rebounds per-game, again had the rebounding edge against the bigger Cowboys’ team 41-31.
Oklahoma State features two very talented players in sophomore forward Le’Bryan Nash and freshman guard Marcus Smart. While the two players did combine for 36 points, the Hokies held them to a 13-for-33 performance from the field. Nash, a surefire future-NBA player, had only four rebounds.
Cowboys’ coach Travis Ford came away impressed with Green saying this, “Green is one of the top-five point guards in the country.” That is mighty high praise from a former starting point guard for the Kentucky Wildcats.
The game was still close late, however, Green and Eddie went to foul line and made several free throws with less than a minute left to seal the victory. Overall, Green was 12-for-13 from the free-throw line and the team was 27-for-33.
Entering the game, the Hokies were shooting 77-percent from the line as a team. Fans can’t help but get excited about that as they’ve seen so many Hokie teams in recent years perform terribly from the line costing the team several games.
The win was the Hokies first over a ranked non-conference opponent since 1995.
The 7-0 start is the best in 30 years for the Hokies.
Can the Hokies continue at this pace? They get a week off before they head to Morgantown next Saturday to play an always-tough West Virginia team. If we’ve learned anything just this week it is that the Hokies will be ready.
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