The 7-1 Hokies battled back from a 12 point deficit to take the lead in the second half but ultimately fell 68-67 to West Virginia.
Virginia Tech was once again led on offense by Erick Green, who finished with his first double-double of the season recording 23 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals. Green tried to do everything he could to keep the Hokies undefeated while key teammates were stuck on the bench as a result of foul trouble.
The ACC’s third leading scorer entering the contest Jarell Eddie picked up three fouls in the first half and didn’t see much action in the second frame after quickly picking up his fourth. Eddie averages 33.9 minutes per game but due to the foul trouble saw only 20 minutes against West Virginia, finishing with a season low five points.
Eddie is Virginia Tech’s leading rebounder, entering the game averaging 7.4 per game, meanwhile the Hokies second leading rebounder Cadarian Raines and his average of seven rebounds per game was also in foul trouble. After picking up only one foul in the first half, Raines also found himself with four fouls in the second half.
With the team’s two best rebounders in foul trouble it should come as no surprise the Hokies were outrebounded by West Virginia 46-33.
With a disadvantage on the rebounds and the Hokies second best player seeing limited action, it’s amazing Virginia Tech managed to keep things as close as they did. The major reason they were able to was due Green, who had a chance to win the game with a last second shot.
With 30 seconds remaining Virgina Tech had possession and were down 66-64. The shot clock was turned off and they had a chance to play for the tie, forcing overtime or go for the win. Instead Robert Brown forced up an unbalanced three-pointer for the Hokies with plenty of time remaining and somehow it banked in off the backboard, giving the Hokies a 67-66 lead with 14.4 seconds to go. Thankfully for Brown the shot fell because otherwise it was easily one of the worst shots by either team in the game with absolutely no need to shoot it given the amount of time that was remaining.
After Brown’s flukey basket, West Virginia answered with a lay-up after a timeout to take a one point lead and Virginia Tech called timeout to set up a play with only 3.4 seconds remaining. Everybody in the arena knew the ball was going to Green. After receiving the inbound pass Green drove to the basket leading his defender forward then pulled back for a jumper, managing to get a clean look at the basket but unfortunately for the Hokies, the ball hit front rim resulting in the team’s first loss of the season.
Virginia Tech has nothing to hang their heads about in the loss, defeating Bob Huggins and West Virginia on their home court is an extremely difficult task for any program. Let alone trying to do it when one of the best players in ACC in Eddie is sitting on the bench for most of the game.
Instead the Hokies should be proud of their performance, as the team continues to prove they cannot be overlooked or teams like the Oklahoma State Cowboys will suffer the consequences.
Another thing about Virginia Tech that cannot be overlooked is the continuing scoring displays put on by the 6-foot-3 Green. Not only is he the ACC’s leading scorer and fourth in the conference in assists but he also became the only player in the nation to score 20 or more points in every game this season.
Don’t sleep on Virginia Tech because they’ll be looking to make some noise once conference play tips off.