Jeff Allen powered the Hokies (1-1, 10-4) with 24 points and 11 rebounds and hit a mind-boggling 10/12 free throws. The senior scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half. Sophomore point guard Erick Green was the other key to the Hokies’ sixth straight win, this one a 71-59 victory over ACC foe florida state (1-1, 11-5), despite 22 points and eight rebounds from future NBA first-round pick Chris Singleton.
Green had 12 points, three assists, four steals and was a perfect 8/8 from the free throw line. Since being installed as a starter six games ago in place of Dorenzo Hudson, who is out for the year, Green has shined during the six-game winning streak.
While the bench — Manny Atkins, Jarell Eddie and Tyrone Garland — only scored nine points, they were all key baskets. With only eight scholarship players, there are no wasted minutes for the Hokies in games like this. Shortly after checking into the game with 11:28 to play, Garland came up big with a three pointer that put Tech in front, 15-14, halting a short 6-2 run by fsu. Garland also had a beautiful layup in the second half and a great baseline assist to Allen.
Atkins didn’t score from the field, but he hit all four of his free throws attempts and pulled down three big time defensive rebounds. As a team, the Hokies shot an impressive 92 percent from the charity stripe (34/37).
Tech began the game with a 2-3 zone defense to try and keep the noles in check and it work fabulously. The Hokies held fsu to 19 first-half points, their second lowest total of the season. The noles’ Michael Snaer hit a three pointer with 6:43 to play in the first half to give fsu a 19-17 lead. The Hokies responded with a 12-0 run to end the half, holding the noles scoreless for nearly seven minutes as they slowly built a 29-19 lead.
The Hokies struggled for the first six minutes of the second half, allowing fsu to get within three points, 34-31, with 13:25 to play in the game. But that’s when Allen took over, beginning with a layup along the baseline. Allen was fouled and completed the three-point play to put the Hokies back in front 37-31. fsu answered with a break-away dunk, but again Allen answered with a layup off a beautiful feed from Garland.
On fsu’s next trip down the floor, Terrance Shannon missed a jump and Atkins pulled down one of his three defensive rebounds that led to Garland’s lightning quick slash through the lane for a nifty layup and an 8-point Hokies lead.
Allen, clearly in a different zone, used his quick hands to snatch the ball from Snaer, sprint to the other end and hit a pull-up jumper to push Tech’s lead back to 10. It was all Hokies from there.
The Hokies return to the court on Thursday, Jan. 13, against unc in Chapel Hill. The tar heels (1-0, 11-4) beat uva (1-1, 10-6) in Charlottesville, 62-56, on Saturday.