December 12, 2010
Hokies snap skid with victory over Penn State
By Jimmy Robertson
12F
Penn State (7-3) 333669
Virginia Tech (5-4) 443579
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,847
  • High Points: 18 - Malcolm Delaney
  • High Rebounds: 13 - Jeff Allen

BLACKSBURG – Starting in place of an injured Dorenzo Hudson, Erick Green tied his career high with 15 points as the Hokies snapped a three-game losing streak with a 79-69 non-conference victory over Penn State at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.

With the win, Tech moved to 5-4 overall on the season. Penn State fell to 7-3.

After a week off, the Hokies looked crisp, particularly on offense, as they shot a season-high 54.5 percent from the floor. Tech also dished out 20 assists, just one short of its season high, and finished with four players in double figures, paced by Malcolm Delaney’s 18 points.

“We shared the ball and made the extra pass,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We got the ball out in transition a little bit and we made shots.”

The Hokies jumped out to an 11-point lead at the break thanks to a Delaney 3-pointer at the buzzer. Penn State went on an 8-0 run to start the second half and cut the lead to 44-41 on two free throws by Talor Battle with 16:15 left in the game.

But Green – who got the start after his collision with Hudson in practice earlier this week resulted in an injured calf for Hudson – hit a 3-pointer 35 seconds later and that started a 10-0 Tech run. Delaney’s 3-pointer and a Tyrone Garland lay-up with 10:52 left gave the Hokies a 54-41 lead, and Penn State got no closer than nine points the rest of the game.

Green connected on 6-of-11 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc. He tied his career high for field goals made and set a career high for field-goal attempts. He also dished out two assists and grabbed four rebounds in 27 minutes.

“I wanted to step up and be aggressive,” Green said. “Stepping in for Dorenzo, I knew I had to get some points on the board and I knew I had to play defense. I had to contain Battle. That was kind of my goal for the day.”

“Erick Green played probably his best game as a Hokie,” Greenberg said. “He was more assertive. He made some shots, and he shot with some confidence.”

Green was also tasked with guarding Battle, the Nittany Lions’ top scorer who came into the game averaging 19.4 points per game. Battle finished with a game-high 26, but connected on just 9-of-20 from the floor and 3-of-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.

“I just wanted to contain him,” Green said. “I knew he was going to score. He’s a good player. I just tried to contain him. My goal was not to let him go off and I thought I did a good job of that.”

“I didn’t want to put Malcolm in position to get in foul trouble,” Greenberg said. “Nor did they want to put Battle in position to get in foul trouble guarding Malcolm.

“I thought Erick did a nice job of stopping the ball early and keeping the ball in front of him. They set a lot of screens for him and it was a situation where we thought Erick’s size and length could slow him down. I don’t think you stop him because he’s a volume shooter, but you can slow him down a bit.”

Delaney scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half for Tech. He made 6-of-9 from the floor for the game, including 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also finished with a season-high eight assists.

Jeff Allen and Terrell Bell both recorded double-double for the Hokies. Allen had 11 points and 13 rebounds and he also added a career-high six assists. Bell finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the 31st double-double of Allen’s career and the second of Bell’s career.

Tech also got 15 points off the bench – something Greenberg had been searching for in previous games. Garland paced Tech’s effort off the bench with a career-high nine points, hitting 3-of-4 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line.

“What I want to see Tyrone Garland do is have poise and come in to practice every day and be competitive and have a purpose,” Greenberg said. “We know he can score. What I need him to do is learn how to practice and learn how to compete and open his mouth and run a team. Have a presence. That’s the biggest thing. He’s got talent. I just need him to have a presence.”

Tech heads to the Bahamas for its next game. The Hokies will take on Mississippi State on Saturday at 8 p.m. in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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