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ACC Basketball: Brown delivers for Hokies in stretch

VIRGINIA TECH GETS BACK

ON TRACK IN ACC SLATE

BY NATHAN WARTERS

THE FREE LANCE–STAR

BLACKSBURG—Apparently Robert Brown’s shooting slump doesn’t apply to clutch situations.

The Virginia Tech sophomore guard struggled to score for much of Saturday’s game against Wake Forest at Cassell Coliseum, but he knocked down the game-winning shot with 12 seconds remaining in a 66–65 win.

The Hokies (11–6, 2–2 ACC), who came back from an eight-point second-half deficit, have now won consecutive ACC contests for the first time since March of 2010, thanks in large part to Brown’s heroics.

He has missed 62 of his last 79 field goal attempts, but he made two critical buckets in overtime of Virginia Tech’s win at Georgia Tech last Saturday and the game-winner against the Demon Deacons (9–8, 2–3), who fell to 1–18 in ACC road games in coach Jeff Bzdelik’s three seasons.

“It felt good to step up and make a play for my teammates,” said Brown, who went 1 for 10 from the floor before his big shot. “Getting this win was big for us in the ACC and for our confidence. We’ve got two in a row and we’re going to just try to keep building on that.”

Hokies junior forward Cadarian Raines saved the win in the closing seconds by contesting a shot by Wake Forest guard C.J. Harris.

Harris had a wide-open lane, but Raines got in his way to alter the shot, which clanged off the rim. Freshman forward Tyler Cavanaugh grabbed the rebound but missed a putback attempt as the clock expired.

“We had two shots at the rim. That’s exactly what we wanted,” Bzdelik said.

The events in the final seconds were very similar to what transpired at West Virginia on Dec. 8 when Mountaineers guard Juwan Staten scored the game-winning bucket on a wide-open layup with five seconds left.

Hokies coach James Johnson was pleased to see that his team learned from that letdown.

“We learned from our last mistakes,” Johnson said. “This game, Cadarian Raines came over and contested the shot. He contested the shot, which is what he didn’t do in the West Virginia game.”

Hokies guard Erick Green scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. He made 7 of 10 field goal attempts after the break.

Tech forward Jarell Eddie scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half. His only second-half field goal was a 3-pointer that tied the game at 62 with 1:39 remaining.

Eddie made up for his lackluster offense in the second half with a strong defensive effort against Demon Deacons forward Travis McKie, who had eight points and five rebounds in the second half after getting 12 points and 10 rebounds in the first.

“Travis was killing us on the glass. He had a double–double in the first half,” Green said of McKie, a Richmond native. “In the second half, Jarell stepped up to the challenge and kept playing the way he’s been playing. He stepped up huge for us tonight.”

The Hokies take their two-game win streak into Thursday night’s home showdown with Virginia, which is also 2–2 in ACC play after a home win over Florida State on Saturday.

“If you ain’t hyped for this, you shouldn’t be playing,” Green said. “We’re excited. We’re going to get ready. It’s a big game. We just need to get better and better every day.”

Nathan Warters: 540/374-5442

nwarters@freelancestar.com

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