The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team has relied heavily on senior guard Erick Green this season.
They relied on him during their
8-0 7-0 start that had them on the brink of a Top 25 poll appearance.
They relied on him during the rough stretch of blowout nonconference games.
They have relied on him during conference play in the up and down ACC.
Despite Green leading the country in scoring with 25.2 ppg, the Hokies simply haven’t had enough help around him this season to be successful and that didn’t change on Wednesday night as the point guard poured in 30 points but Tech fell to Miami (FL) 73-64 at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hurricanes came to town ranked No. 14 in the country and a perfect 6-0 in ACC play. Miami has had only one winning season since joining the conference but have been the surprise leader of the league so far this season.
The game started off at a frantic pace with both team exchanging threes and Tech using a surprisingly loud student section to jump out to a 10-8 lead at the first media timeout.
Robert Brown, who came off the bench after struggling mightily over the past few weeks to find his shot, then entered the game. Brown started off hot, hitting back to back threes and extending the Tech lead to 16-10.
The Hurricanes then struggled to find their own offensive identity over the next ten minutes as they failed to score a basket for close to five minutes. During this time frame, Green began to put on a show for the fans with an array of deep jumpers that put Tech up 28-16 and seemingly in a good position with just over five minutes remaining in the half.
Miami, however, used a timeout by head coach Jim Larranaga to regroup and took a 7-0 personal run by point guard Shane Larkin to get back into the ball game and go into the half trailing 32-29.
The second half began much like the first half ended.
The Hurricanes came out and established their dominance against the Hokies took their first lead of the game just three minutes into action. The jumped to a four point lead before Green hit back-to-back threes to make it a two point Tech lead.
Miami, however, answered with their own 10-0 run that seemingly put the game away. Throughout the rest of the night, the Hurricanes maintained that lead and held on for the win.
Shane Larkin led the Hurricanes with 25 points while Kenny Kadji had 18 and Trey McKinney Jones added 12.
Robert Brown, after starting off hot in the first half with eight points, failed to score at all in the second. Jarell Eddie also struggled throughout the night despite having 14 points and shooting 4-5 from the field.
One sign of improvement for the Hokies was the play of Cadarian Raines who had 10 points and eight rebounds and a couple of big defensive plays. The fact of the matter, however, is that Tech was still extremely outsized in this one.
Moving forward, things don’t appear to look like they’ll get much better. The team played about as well as you could play in the first half and still only lead by three. The team simply cannot score outside of Green and it is evident by the end of every game.
Tech will now get ready to head to Chapel Hill where it will take on the Tar Heels who have also struggled despite high preseason expectations. Tipoff for that game will take place at noon and will air on ACC Network and ESPN3.com.