March 2, 2013
Green's 29 lifts Hokies over Clemson on Senior Night
By Jimmy Robertson
Clemson (13-15, 5-11) 253661
Virginia Tech (13-16, 4-12) 363369
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 5,184
  • High Points: 29 - Erick Green
  • High Rebounds: 8 - C.J. Barksdale

BLACKSBURG – Playing in his final home game, Virginia Tech guard Erick Green scored 29 points and the Hokies held off Clemson 69-61 in an ACC game played Saturday night at Cassell Coliseum.

The win marked the second in the past three games for the Hokies, who moved to 13-16 overall and 4-12 in the ACC. Tech avenged a late January loss to the Tigers, who fell to 13-15, 5-11 in league play.

“This one (the win) was really important,” Green said. “I told the guys before the game that this was the one thing I really wanted. I couldn’t ask for anything else, just to go out with a win. I started my career here with a win, and I wanted to go out with a win walking out – and I did that.”

Green scored 17 points in the first half, with 9 of those coming on a 20-8 half-ending run that gave the Hokies a 36-25 lead. Tech then took a 15-point lead in the second half on two free throws by Green with 17:26 remaining and appeared to be in control.

But Clemson rallied and cut the deficit to 64-61 on two free throws by Adonis Filer with 1:20 remaining. The Tigers had a chance to get closer. Following a turnover, the Hokies fouled Filer, but he missed two free throws with 35.2 seconds remaining. Virginia Tech's C.J. Barksdale was fouled on the rebound with 33.6 seconds left and made both free throws to give the Hokies a 66-61 lead.

Clemson's Jordan Roper then missed a 3-pointer with 25 seconds to go, and Barksdale was fouled again after grabbing the rebound. He made both free throws with 23.4 seconds remaining to give the Hokies a 68-61 bulge and seal the victory.

“There wasn’t any pressure on me,” said Barksdale, who scored in double figures for the fourth straight game. “I had the same thing happen to me against Florida State (when he hit 8 of 10 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes). I just went to the line confident, knowing that I was going to knock them down.”

Clemson fouled Green with 9 seconds left, and Green made one of two free-throw attempts to account for the final margin. Virginia Tech coach James Johnson then pulled him out of the game, and the Winchester, Va., native received a standing ovation.

“I anticipated him coming out and having a big game tonight, to be honest with you,” Johnson said. “Just to have watched and been around him for so long and watch him play his last game in Cassell (Coliseum), that was emotional.

“He goes from two points a game as a freshman to leading the nation in scoring. That shows what hard work can do for you, and that’s how we want to build this program and that’s the type of kids I want to get in the program.”

Green, who came into the game as the nation's leading scorer at 24.9 points per game, hit 8 of 12 from the floor, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. He also hit 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. He scored 20 points or more for the 26th time in 29 games this season.

“I’ve been hurting these last couple of days,” Green said. “This is all I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to miss these guys. I’m going to miss the crowd. I’m going to miss talking to you guys (the media). I’m going to miss a lot. This is something I’m always going to remember, and just this whole place, I’m going to remember it.

“I just want to thank the crowd for everything. These four years have been great. Just seeing myself grow and having these fans stick with me through it all … it’s been a long journey. I’m glad we went out this way.”

Barksdale finished with 14 points for the Hokies, and Robert Brown added 13. The two of them combined to hit 10 of 15 from the floor, and Virginia Tech shot 54.8 percent (23 of 42) from the floor — its best performance in an ACC game this season.

Devin Booker paced the Tigers with 17 points. Filer and Milton Jennings added 13 each.

The Hokies now hit the road for their final two regular-season games, starting with a Tuesday night contest at Duke in Durham, N.C. Tipoff for the game is slated for 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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