BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green scored 23 points, including the 1,000th of his career, as the Hokies rolled past VMI 95-80 in a nonconference game Thursday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With the win, the Hokies moved to 3-0 on the season. VMI fell to 1-3.
Tech trailed in the early going, but a Green 3-pointer with 15:38 left in the first half sparked a 19-3 run in which five different players scored. A second Tech run late in the first half essentially put the game away. The Hokies led 35-21 at the media timeout with less than eight minutes left and then scored seven straight points out of the timeout to take a 42-21 bulge.
Tech led 46-30 at halftime and then opened the second half with a 12-2 run to build a 26-point lead. The Hokies, who are adapting to new coach James Johnson’s fast-paced philosophies, would later lead by as many as 31. Only a 16-0 run by VMI late in the game against Tech’s backups made the score respectable.
For the second time in three games, the Hokies scored 80 points or more. A year ago, Virginia Tech scored 80 or more just three times the entire season.
“It helps us because defenses aren’t able to focus on Erick Green so much,” Johnson said of his fast-paced offense. “And it plays to our strengths. We’ve got athletic guys who can get out in transition and run and spot up and shoot the basketball.”
A Green jumper in that 12-2 run with 19:08 remaining in the game marked his 1,000th career point.
“I try not to worry about that stuff,” Green said of his milestone. “It’s a great accomplishment, but I’m just glad we got the win.”
Green nailed 9 of 13 from the floor, including his lone 3-point attempt, and the Hokies, as a team, shot 52.9 percent. Four other players finished in double figures, with Jarell Eddie scoring 17, Cadarian Raines adding 14 and both Robert Brown and C.J. Barksdale each scoring 11.
“Will Johnston is barely on our scouting report, and he went 3-for-6,” VMI coach Duggar Baucom said. “Marshall Wood came into the game 0-for-8 and he went 2-for-3.
“So that’s 15 points, and it’s a 15-point game. I wasn’t terribly disappointed in our defense. They broke us down some, but if they shoot it 11-for-24 in the ACC, they’ll be good. Really good.”
The Hokies’ height and length bothered VMI the entire game, as Tech held the Keydets to just 35.5 percent from the floor in the first half and 40 percent for the game. The Keydets got a career-high 23 points from D.J. Covington.
The Hokies head to Greensboro, N.C., for their next game, as they take on UNC Greensboro in their first road game of the season. Tipoff for the game is slated for 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum.
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