|North Florida (5-7)||31||24||55|
|Virginia Tech (9-3)||40||44||84|
BLACKSBURG – Dorenzo Hudson scored 16 points to help Virginia Tech win its fourth straight game, an 84-55 decision over North Florida in non-conference action on Monday night.
With the win, the Hokies moved to 9-3 on the season. North Florida fell to 5-7 overall.
The Hokies broke open a close contest with an 8-0 run to close the first half. Jarell Eddie's 3-pointer with 3 seconds left – his only points of the half – gave Tech a 40-31 halftime lead.
“I thought Jarell making that 3 right at the end of the first half was a big momentum boost,” Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said. “Then, in the second half, we did what we were supposed to do.”
Tech used a 19-5 run over a 7-minute stretch in the second half to put the game away. Erick Green and Robert Brown combined to score 13 of the 19 points in that run for the Hokies. Tech went on to lead by as many as 29 points in the game and shot 61.3 percent in the final 20 minutes (19 of 31).
“We started getting up on them and pressuring the ball like we can,” Brown said. “We started running. We had a lot of fastbreaks and we knocked down some 3’s. I was able to get to the rim a couple of times and Erick [Green] got to the rim, and Marquis [Rankin] made excellent plays in transition. I think that really is what started our run. We forced our will upon them.”
“I told the guys at halftime that we had to play better,” Greenberg said. “I told them we had to be more efficient. We had chances to blow things open early on. We just had to grind this thing through.
“We’re a grinding team. That’s who we are. We have four freshmen and two sophomores who had played very limited minutes [coming into the season], and they have to learn how to grind because they’re going to have to learn how to grind in league play.”
North Florida, which has played a brutal schedule that includes Alabama, Florida, Miami, Ohio State and Kansas State, struggled to take care of the ball against Tech’s man-to-man defense. The Ospreys committed 16 turnovers, and they shot just 37.5 percent from the floor in the second half.
Hudson, who snapped out of a shooting slump in the Hokies’ previous game against Campbell, connected on 6 of 10 from the floor to pace a Tech team that shot 55.2 percent for the game (32 of 58). It marked the fifth time this season that the Hokies have shot better than 50 percent.
Brown added 14 points for the Hokies, hitting 6 of 10 from the floor, including 2 of 4 from beyond the 3-point arc. Dorian Finney-Smith also had 14 and hit two 3-pointers, as the Hokies made seven treys for the game. Green finished with 12.
Travis Wallace paced the Ospreys with 13 points, while Matt Sauey added 11. North Florida fell to 0-6 all time versus ACC teams.
Tech continues non-conference action on Thursday night when it takes on Eastern Michigan. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
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