January 7, 2012
Tech falls to Wake Forest in ACC opener
By Jimmy Robertson
Virginia Tech (11-4, 0-1 ACC) 243155
Wake Forest (10-5, 1-0 ACC) 322658
  • Winston-Salem, N.C. - Joel Coliseum - 10,037
  • High Points: 19 - Erick Green
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Erick Green, Victor Davila, Dorian Finney-Smith

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Virginia Tech rallied from an eight-point second-half deficit to take the lead with a little more than a minute to play, but Wake Forest’s C.J. Harris buried a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to lift the Demon Deacons past the Hokies 58-55 in the ACC opener for both teams.

With the loss, Tech fell to 11-4 overall, 0-1 in the league. Wake Forest moved to 10-5, 1-0, and snapped a five-game losing skid to the Hokies.

Tech started slowly, trailing by as many as 13 in the first half and by seven with 7:13 remaining in the game. But the Hokies rallied, taking their first lead, 53-52, on a 3-pointer by Jarell Eddie with 1:20 left.

On Wake’s next possession, Harris canned a 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining to give the Demon Deacons a 55-53 lead. That lead, though, lasted only 19 seconds, as Tech’s Erick Green hit a jumper with 46 seconds to go that tied the game at 55.

But Harris answered again for the Demon Deacons. Using a screen, he nailed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to give Wake a 58-55 lead.

“We went underneath the screen,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “And he made us pay.”

“I thought we were going to blitz him [Harris],” Green said. “That’s my fault. I shouldn’t have gone under the screen,”

Greenberg called a timeout with 11 seconds left to set up a final play. Wake’s Travis McKie committed a foul with nine seconds left, but the Hokies weren’t in the bonus, so they got no free-throw attempts. With two seconds to go, Robert Brown missed on a 3-point attempt for the Hokies, and McKie got the rebound.

Tech fouled McKie with less than a second to go. He missed the free throw, but the Hokies didn’t get a shot off, and Wake came out with the three-point victory.

“We set the play up to where we’d have Erick come off the stagger, but my man jumped toward him and denied him,” Brown said. “So I got the ball, and I took the shot.

“I thought it was going in. I feel like I’m a good enough shooter that any shot I put up is going to fall. I have confidence in my shot, and so do my teammates and coaches. When it left my hand, I thought it was good.”

The Hokies got off to a slow start and found themselves playing catch-up the entire game. Tech missed 13 of its first 16 shots, but still rallied to tie the game at 38 on a free throw by Brown with 12:31 remaining. Their undoing, though, came on the glass, where Wake Forest out-rebounded Tech 42-31, and Tech also committed nine second-half turnovers.

“I don’t feel like our minds were in the game when the game started,” Tech’s Jarell Eddie said. “We needed to be more mentally prepared for a 12 o’clock game. We weren’t ready at tip-off. It wasn’t anything they did. We just weren’t ready mentally. Wake Forest, they played their tails off. But we didn’t come out with the attitude we needed to have to win the game.”

Green paced the Hokies with 19 points, hitting 9 of 18 from the floor. He also tied a career high with seven rebounds. Eddie added 12 points for Tech, which shot 39.7 percent from the floor.

Harris had 13 points to lead the Demon Deacons, while McKie finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Hokies continue conference play on Tuesday night when they take on Florida State. Tip-off for the game is slated or 7 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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