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Hokies Beat #15 Oklahoma State, Run Record To 7-0

Despite two early fouls from leading-scorer and team leader Erick Green, the Hokies were able to weather the first half, and pull ahead of the Cowboys early in the second when Green went on a personal 10-0 run. Though the game went back and forth for most of the next 10 minutes, including several lead changes and ties, the Hokies eventually pulled away, due to defense and good free throw shooting, beating the #15 Cowboys 81-71.


Beating this 2012 version of Oklahoma State will probably go down as one of the all-time great wins at Cassell, because the Cowboys were ranked, the Cassell was full, and it was a good game. But this Oklahoma State team, though athletic, is not the ilk of several ACC teams the Hokies will play this season, so it's important to be realistic considering what the Hokies have done. They don't have a dominant big man, they don't rebound the ball much better than the Hokies and they are incredibly dependent on hitting outside shots. That said, the win is a good one (what win isn't?) and will look good on the Hokies NCAA Tournament résumé. Who thought we'd be saying that this season? This was also the kind of win that eluded the Hokies in seasons past. And after all, the Hokies are 7-0, a team which I figured would do no better than 12-15 wins on the season. So there's that.

James Johnson has done a fantastic job with this team. Many fans have stated that Johnson's style has made the team more watchable, but there are so many things more important than how watchable a team is. If a team were winning and undefeated, as Tech is, in the Princeton offense, good fans should and would watch regardless. But, what Johnson's style has done for the Hokies is to provide them with an element of surprise: an advantage in pace that suits the roster as its currently constructed (and no I am not referring to the numbers, but rather the type of player currently on the roster). Every player on the team (that plays) minus Cadarian Raines is actually better served getting out and running. So what Johnson has done more than anything else is to maximize the abilities of what players he does have.

Specific to this game, the Hokies have to improve when Erick Green is off the court. Much like Greenberg's teams struggled over the last few years with long dry spells, the team hit those on multiple occasions today, often coinciding with Erick Green not being on the floor. Though I think they improved with that as the game went on, it's something that they have to continue to work on, as two fouls basically disrupted everything the Hokies wanted to do offensively.

They also have to be able to get better shots in the half court. Several times when the Cowboys played them tight, Tech was unable to move the ball, isolated, and shot contested jumpers (often 3's) with the shot clock ticking down. They may be an up tempo team, but as Iowa showed at times and Oklahoma State did today, when good teams want to slow you down, they can. So the Hokies will have to adjust to that and be able to run a competent half court offense. Otherwise this success will be short-lived.

There were so many contributions made today. Green's 28 points (a new career high) and 7 rebounds, Jarell Eddie's 15 points, 12 boards and 4 assists, Robert Brown's 18 and 6 boards and Marshall Wood's 6-7 from the free throw line and 5 boards. The team also had 6 key blocks. Those are just some of the big contributions today.

The Hokies are off for a full week before returning to action in what will be another test at long-time rival West Virginia on Dec. 8. They will look to move to 8-0 on the season, all while winning the basketball version of the Black Diamond Trophy (a little joke in case you didn't understand). Until then, savor the victory, congratulate the team and being 7-0 for the first time in 30 years.