BLACKSBURG – Erick Green scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to pace five players in double figures as the Hokies rolled to an eye-opening 95-79 nonconference victory over Iowa in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game at Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night.
With the victory, Tech moved to 6-0 on the season. The Hokies last won their first six games to start a season in 1982. Tech also moved to 3-5 all time in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge – with all three victories coming over the Hawkeyes.
“Every win is significant,” Tech coach James Johnson said, downplaying the victory. “Every win is a good win. We’re taking every single one of them.”
“It means a lot,” Green said of the Hokies’ 6-0 start. “All this hard work is paying off. But 6-0 is not good enough. I want to keep going. I want to be undefeated before we go to Vegas [on Dec. 22]. We’ve got to keep getting better and better. Oklahoma State on Saturday is going to be a challenge, and we’ve just got to come to play.”
The Hokies took control of the game with a 19-1 run that spanned the two halves. Tech Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble scored to give the Hawkeyes a 37-36 with 3:16 left in the first half, but the Hokies closed the half with a 10-1 run and took a 46-38 lead at the break.
Then, to open the second half, Tech went on a 9-0 run – with Green scoring all nine points. His three-point play with 19:30 left in the game started the outburst, and he also hit two short jumpers before ending the run with two free throws at the 16:53 mark. That put the Hokies up 55-38.
The Hawkeyes answered with a 16-2 run to climb back in the game and cut the lead to 57-54 on a layup by Anthony Clemmons with 12 minutes left. But the Hokies scored 12 of the game’s next 16 points, and Iowa got no closer than seven the rest of the way, as the Hokies gradually pulled away.
“Coach Johnson told us to calm down,” Tech’s Robert Brown said. “He told us at halftime that they were going to make a run. Every team does. He told us in the timeout [with 11:49 remaining] that they had made their run and now it was time for us to make ours, and we did.”
The Hokies, who shot 52.5 percent from the floor and an impressive 90 percent from the free-throw line (27 of 30), score 95 points or more for the third time this season and scored 80 or more for the fourth straight time and the fifth time in six games. The last time Tech scored 80 or more in four straight games was in 1994.
Green connected on 8 of 15 from the floor and 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. He saw his streak of consecutive made free throws end at 37 straight.
Brown added 18 points for Tech, just one short of his career high, while Jarell Eddie and C.J. Barksdale scored 11 each. Joey van Zegeren chipped in a career-high 10 points as part of a Tech bench that scored 22 points on the evening.
The Hawkeyes got 21 points from Aaron White and 18 from Marble.
The Hokies will see a major step up in competition for their next game as undefeated Oklahoma State comes to Blacksburg on Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.
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