Green scores career high in Hokies’ win (AP)
Posted: November 24, 2012
BLACKSBURG — The last time the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program was 5-0 to start a season, Ronald Reagan was president, gas was $1.10 a gallon and the movie “Ghostbusters” was released.
It took nearly 30 years, but the Hokies finally have won their first five games again.
Virginia Tech used a career-high 27 points from point guard Erick Green to outlast Appalachian State 87-76 Friday for their first 5-0 start since the 1984-85 season.
“It’s not a pat on the back for me, but a tribute to these kids,” Virginia Tech first-year coach James Johnson said. “They’ve bought into what I’ve trying to do and what we’ve been working on. They’re worked extremely hard and been ready to play every game.
“If you look out across the country at the scores, there are teams from high levels getting beat by teams from lower levels. You’ve got to be ready to play every night. The other team prepares and practices and works hard. They’re trying to win.
“They’re not going to lay down for you because you’re in the ACC or you’re in a major conference. It’s one game at a time for us, and it (the 5-0 start) says a lot about this team. I’m fortunate to be able to coach them.”
The Hokies found things difficult against Appalachian State (1-4) for the better part of 30 minutes. The Mountaineers trailed just 60-58 after a 3-pointer by Nathan Healy with 10:41 remaining.
But Virginia Tech answered with a 13-2 run that put the game away. Green scored six points in the run, including a one-handed slam with 4:51 to go that capped the run and gave the Hokies a 73-60 lead. The Hokies built the lead to 79-64 on a three-point play by Cadarian Raines with 3:28 remaining and the Mountaineers got no closer than 11.
“They caught us off guard,” Green said of the Mountaineers. “They got offensive rebounds and second-chance points. The first half, they just out-hustled us. They wanted it more than us. The second half, we finally got it together.”
Green, who became the first Virginia Tech player to score 20 points or more in the first five games of the season since Bimbo Coles did it in the first nine games of the 1989-90 season, made 8 of 16 from the floor and all 11 of his free-throw attempts. He has made 31 consecutive free throws.
The Hokies made 30 of their 39 free-throw attempts. In contrast, the Mountaineers hit just 12 of 21 and turned the ball over 19 times.
“We executed our game plan,” Appalachian State coach Jason Capel said. “But 19 turnovers and allowing a team to shoot 39 free throws . that’s not a very good recipe to win. We put ourselves in position to win, but no moral victories. We’re a very good team. We’re going to get better as the season goes on.”
Jarell Eddie added 23 points for the Hokies, making 7 of 9 from the floor, including 4 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. Marshall Wood had a career-high 13 for Virginia Tech, which shot 50 percent (26 of 52) from the floor.