On Saturday Jan. 19 Wake Forest had a chance, and then a second chance, to win their match-up with Virginia Tech in the closing seconds, but it fell short by one point. Junior forward Travis McKie had a huge game, and put his team up one on a three-pointer with 30 seconds to go. On the ensuing Hokies’ drive, Robert Brown took the one-point lead. In the final seconds Demon Deacons point guard C.J. Harris missed a lay-up, but they got a second chance due to a Tyler Cavanaugh offensive rebound. On his attempted put-back they failed again and received their second straight loss, totaling eight on the season.
Erick Green gave head coach James Johnson what he’s come to expect from the senior star with 22 points. It was the performances of junior forwards Cadarian Raines and Jarell Eddie that lifted the Hokies to victory. Eddie is known for his three-point shooting, but has struggled in recent games shooting 25 percent or under in seven of his past eight games. In the Wake Forest win, however, he went 3-for-4 from behind the arc giving Virginia Tech an added boost of consistency.
Raines was a defensive anchor for his teammates as he blocked four shots and had eight defensive rebounds. He also added five offensive rebounds to total 13 boards. With forward Marshall Wood still out injured, the Hokies have depended on Raines to play increased minutes, and he has done so famously.
Brown had a tough night shooting just 2-for-11 from the field, but how can you knock a guy who made the game-winning basket. Brown’s largest struggle was from deep. He connected on none of his five three-point attempts. On the season he is shooting a brutal 23.4 percent percent from downtown, and is taking an average of four attempts per game. Brown may want to re-think shooting as he holds the ball outside the arc, and either make an extra pass or put the ball on the floor.
Virginia Tech has some nice pieces, but to find success in ACC play, it needs more help from its bench post players, especially defensively and on the boards. Also, Brown needs to take less deep shots and find easier baskets consistently, so his team doesn’t lose points unnecessarily.