January 8, 2011
Hokies extend winning streak with victory over FSU
By Jimmy Robertson
Florida State (11-5, 1-1) 194059
Virginia Tech (10-4, 1-1) 294271
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 7,987
  • High Points: 24 - Jeff Allen
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Jeff Allen

BLACKSBURG – Jeff Allen scored 18 of his season-high 24 points in the second half to lift Virginia Tech past Florida State 71-59 in an ACC game played at Cassell Coliseum on Saturday.

With the victory, the Hokies extended their winning streak to six straight games. They moved to 10-4 overall, 1-1 in the ACC. They also snapped a three-game losing streak to the Seminoles.

“We needed a league win and we needed to protect our home court,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We started out last year 1-3 [actually 1-2] and at least now we’ve got the one. Now we’ve got to see if we can build on that.”

The Hokies broke open a close contest in the first half with a 12-0 run to end the half and took a 29-19 lead at halftime. They never trailed again. Florida State went scoreless in the final 6:43, turning the ball over six times and missing six shots on its final 11 possessions of the half.

In the second half, the Seminoles (11-5, 1-1) cut the Virginia Tech’s lead to 46-42 with 7:32 remaining on a 3-pointer by Luke Loucks, but the Hokies scored the next eight points. The Seminoles got no closer than eight points the rest of the game.

Tech, which is to eight scholarship players because of injuries, played exclusively a 2-3 zone against the bigger, more athletic Seminoles and held Florida State to just 35.5 percent shooting from the floor (22 of 62). The Hokies also forced 19 FSU turnovers.

Greenberg, who usually has his teams play man-to-man defense, said it marked the first time as a coach that he had played 40 minutes of zone.

“I summoned my inner Jimmy Boeheim,” he joked, referring to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose teams are noted for zone defense. “We were active with our hands and closing out hard and guarding the ball.

“You’ve got to coach your team. We’re going to coach this team and try to give them a chance, if they make plays, to win. That’s what we’ve got to do. Each game is going to be different. We’ve got 1-3-1 zones, we’ve got box-in-ones, we’ve got triangle-in-twos … we’ve got lots of things we’ve been working on. We’ve got to be creative to make sure we keep zero [Allen] out of foul trouble.”

Allen, who also had 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, connected on 7 of 12 from the floor and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line. The scoring outburst marked his best game since a 25-point performance in the Hokies’ double-overtime loss to Maryland last February.

"I was just going out there and playing hard,” Allen said. “I tried to play through the groin injury. I just blocked it out because we needed this victory.”

“He really took us to the woodshed,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said of Allen. “We had very little answer for him. We’ve normally been able to keep him in check. But today, he played with a tremendous amount of maturity and executed well. He was very patient in his game and that was one reason why they kept us at bay.”

Tech also made the most of its free-throw opportunities. The Hokies, who were shooting 67.8 percent from the free-throw line coming into the game, made 34 of 37. Malcolm Delaney and Erick Green combined to make all 15 of their attempts.

The Hokies got 13 points from Delaney and 12 from Green.

Chris Singleton paced Florida State with 22 points.

The Hokies hit the road for their next game, traveling to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a Thursday night game against North Carolina. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m.

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

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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