The authority for sports coverage in the Fredericksburg region.
College Men’s Basketball: Despite Green’s efforts, Hokies can’t crack Cavs
BY NATHAN WARTERS
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
BLACKSBURG—Virginia’s suffocating defense couldn’t stop Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green, but the Cavaliers shut down everybody else in a resounding 74–58 win at Cassell Coliseum on Thursday night.
Green, the nation’s leading scorer, had 35 points and nine rebounds, both career highs, but the rest of the Hokies combined for only 23 points.
“I look at Green’s points and I think for the most part we made him earn them, but I didn’t realize he had that many,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “He’s hard to guard, but you’ve just got to make him earn it and do a better job on the other guys.”
The Cavaliers (13–5, 3–2), meanwhile, used a balanced attack to dispatch the Hokies (11–7, 2–3) for the third straight time in Blacksburg.
Freshman forward Evan Nolte had a career-high 18 points. He was one of four Virginia players to score in double digits, along with junior guard Joe Harris (17), freshman center Mike Tobey (10) and freshman guard Justin Anderson, a Montross native who played for the Courtland High School junior varsity team as an eighth-grader, who had 11 points and a career-high six assists in 24 minutes.
“We got open rhythm looks, and we found the open guy and shot with confidence,” Nolte said.
The Cavaliers, who picked up their first road ACC win of the season, made a season-high 11 3-pointers on 23 attempts. Nolte had five 3-pointers, and Harris had four.
Virginia’s defense, ranked second in the country in points allowed, had no problems with every player at Virginia Tech not named Green, who came one point shy of matching Florida State’s total against the Cavaliers on Saturday.
“That’s a part of the game,” Anderson said of Green’s big night. “You’ve got prime-time players, prime-time scorers, and it’s big time that we can come into this place—they’re known for their rowdy fans—and get the [win]. That’s what it’s all about.”
Green made 11 of 18 field goal attempts and had the highest point total against the Cavaliers since Duke’s J.J. Redick had 40 in 2006. Green had the most points by a Hokies player since Dorenzo Hudson had 41 against Seton Hall in 2010.
The rest of Tech’s offense combined to make only 8 of 25 field goal attempts.
“It’s frustrating,” Green said. “I don’t care how many points I score. All I care about is winning.”
Virginia led by as many as 15 in the first half, but Green scored six straight points going into the break to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 34–25.
Green had 14 points and four of his team’s six field goals in the first half.
“He played his tail off,” Hokies forward Jarell Eddie said of Green. “I give him all the credit. He definitely played really well tonight, but we weren’t able to get the win, which is tough.”
Virginia Tech led 17–10 near the midway point of the first half, but Virginia went on a 24–2 run to take control. The Cavaliers sank five 3-pointers during the run—three by Harris, two by Nolte and one by Anderson.
Virginia made 9 of 10 shots during the run. Its only miss was an air ball by Nolte that Tobey rebounded for a layup.