If you had doubts about this Hokie team because of a soft schedule after five games, Tech should have made you a believer tonight. Virginia Tech picked up its third win in eight tries in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge, all against iowa, with a 95-79 win at the Cassell, narrowly missing their first Jon King Bear Fight of the season.
The Hokies exploded late in the first half and early in the second half to go on a 19-1 run to turn a 37-36 deficit into a 55-38 lead. The hawkeyes promptly went on a 14-0 run of their own to make it a nervous 55-52 game. But Tech kept battling and got the lead back up to double digits. After VT went ahead 78-68 with 5:53 to go on a JvZ dunk, iowa never got back within single digits and Tech even lead by as many as 21 points before the hawkeyes salvaged the Bear Fight in garbage time.
Erick Green had a huge game — Stop the presses! The senior, who leads the ACC in scoring, tallied 24 points – his sixth straight game over 20 points to start the season (the record is 9 by Bimbo Coles). Erick did see his consecutive free throw streak end at 37 straight though. He was 8/9 tonight from the stripe and 8/15 from the floor.
Robert Brown also had a big game, scoring 18 on 6/8 shooting and 5/5 from the line (he was 57% coming in). Brown was one point from his career high of 19, which came against Monmouth last year.
Jarell Eddie, who was 9/10 on 3s in his last two games, was just 1/4 from deep and 4/11 from the field, but did add 11 points and 7 rebounds.
The player of the game might have been C.J. Barksdale. The sophomore had really struggled on offense coming in but picked up 11 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. He has put together a couple of solid games in a row.
Joey van Zegeren (aka: Stone Hands) easily surpassed his previous career high of 6 points with 10 points tonight.
Tech, who I thought would be dominated on the glass, actually had 9 offensive rebounds to just 8 for iowa. But the bigger deal was second chance points; VT had a 13-2 advantage there.
The Hokies also were +12 from the foul line, shooting an amazing 27/30 (90%) while iowa was just 13/18. Tech also had a 17-8 advantage on fast break points, as you’d expect against the slower hawkeyes. I expected Tech would win on the break, but winning on the glass and getting to the line is why the Hokies won easily.
VT was just 4/15 from deep (27%) but held iowa to 4/22 from behind the arc (18%).
The Hokies return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. against a very good oklahoma state team at the Cassell. I know, I know, it’s the fourth time we’ve played the cowboys in three years, and we’ve won all three, but let’s go for the golden sombrero!