February 22, 2011
Hokies bounce back with win over Wake
By Jimmy Robertson
Virginia Tech (18-8, 8-5 ACC) 383876
Wake Forest (8-20, 1-12 ACC) 253762
  • Winston-Salem, N.C. - Joel Coliseum - 9,482
  • High Points: 17 - Jeff Allen, Malcolm Delaney, Jarell Eddie
  • High Rebounds: 9 - Jarell Eddie

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Jarell Eddie scored a career-high 17 points off the bench to help the Virginia Tech Hokies rebound from a loss to rival Virginia with a 76-62 victory over Wake Forest in an ACC game at Lawrence Joel Coliseum on Tuesday night.

With the win, Tech moved to 18-8 overall, 8-5 in the ACC, and the Hokies have now won 14 of their past 18 games. Wake Forest, which lost to Tech 94-65 in Blacksburg, fell to 8-20 overall, 1-12.

The win sets up Saturday’s showdown with No. 1 Duke. ESPN’s College GameDay will be making its first appearance in Blacksburg for a basketball.

“We’ve done it before,” Tech guard Malcolm Delaney said when asked if this team could be a No. 1 team – a reference to Tech’s victory over No. 1 Wake Forest two years ago. “You’ve got College GameDay, No. 1 [Duke], at home [Cassell] … it’s definitely the biggest game of my career.

“The team two years ago, we had A.D. [Vassallo] and Hank [Thorns] was a good distributor. But we play more together as a team this year, and we’re better defensively. We can mix up our defenses a lot more now than we could back then. We’ve got some people playing confident. Just Jarell playing a game like he did today, that could really help us out.”

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg’s thoughts: “We’re going to try. We’ll show up. They’re [Duke] a special team. They’re coached by a brilliant coach, and they play harder than anyone. We’re going to compete. I guarantee you that. We’ll play hard, but we’ve got to play smart and we’ve got to play well. That’ll be the challenge.”

Against the Demon Deacons, Tech overcame some early foul trouble, with Jeff Allen picking up his second foul at the 14:01 mark in the first half. He sat for a little over five minutes, and then Greenberg elected to bring him back in.

The move paid dividends. Once Allen returned with 8:59 left, the Hokies outscored Wake Forest 20-9 to end the first half and took a 38-25 lead at halftime.

The second half was much of the same. Tech opened a 21-point lead, 56-35, on a basket by Eddie 13:14 remaining. Eddie drained all six of his shots from the floor, including all three of his 3-pointers, easily surpassing his previous career high of 12 points – which, coincidentally, came against Wake Forest earlier this season.

“He’s got a good feel for the game,” Greenberg said. “His biggest obstacle is learning how to play, and his definition of playing hard and mine aren’t exactly in the same hemisphere. But he’s really talented. He can shoot the ball and he can pass it, and he’s got a feel.

“He’s just got to get as competitive as me. Right now, he’s not as competitive as me. When he learns to be more competitive, I think he can be really special.”

Behind Eddie, the Hokies blistered the nets, shooting 60 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The shooting percentage was their second-best of the season (Mount St. Mary’s) and the 3-point percentage was their best of the season.

“We got the ball with room and rhythm, and we shared the basketball,” Greenberg said. “We made good passes. Jeff Allen made a couple of terrific passes, and our interior passing was good. We played with good spacing.”

Delaney and Jeff Allen each finished with 17 points as well, while Erick Green added 12. Allen grabbed eight rebounds, thus ending his streak of double-doubles at seven.

Travis McKie led Wake Forest with 22 points and nine rebounds. Gary Clark finished with 13.

The tip-off for the Tech-Duke game is slated for 9 p.m. The doors at Cassell will be opened at 8:30 for College GameDay.

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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