Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 9, 2013

Hokies open ACC home slate vs. Eagles

By BRIAN WOODSON
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A 7-0 start to the season has reversed course for Virginia Tech.

Since a one-point loss at West Virginia on Dec. 8, the Hokies, have gone 2-4, losing three straight games since beating Bradley by a point in the Continental Las Vegas Classic on Dec. 22.

Virginia Tech has since lost to Colorado State 88-52 in the Las Vegas finals, and followed that up with a 91-71 setback at Brigham Young, and an ACC opening game 94-71 loss on Saturday at Maryland.

The Hokies (9-5, 0-1) will try to get back on the winning track with its ACC home opener tonight against Boston College (8-6, 0-1). Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.

Virginia Tech is 7-1 at Cassell Coliseum this season, but lost its last home decision in a 78-73 defeat against Georgia Southern on Dec. 15.

Senior  guard Erick Green leads Virginia Tech and is second in the nation with 24.6 points a game. He also paces the Hokies with 4.4 assists, and is pulling down 4.4 rebounds a game. Green is connecting on 86.0 percent (104-121) from the free throw line, and is shooting 48.9 (110-225) from the field.

Jarell Eddie (14.1 ppg) and Robert Brown (10.6) are also scoring in double figures for Virginia Tech, while Cadarian Raines is providing 7.0 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds. C.J. Barksdale has been the regular fifth starter, contributing 5.2 points a contest.

Virginia Tech, which often struggled to score under former coach Seth Greenberg, but the Hokies are scoring 76.6 points per game under first year coach James Johnson.

Boston College had rallied from a 3-5 start to the season to win five straight, but fell to North Carolina State 78-73 in the Eagles’ ACC opener on Saturday.

Sophomore Ryan Anderson leads the Eagles, scoring 16.4 points and grabbing 9.8 rebounds a contest. Freshman Olivier Hanlan is contributing 12.9 points, while Joe Rahon, last week’s ACC freshman of the week, is averaging 11.8 points a game.

The Eagles, who are coached by Steve Donahue, are scoring 68.7 points a game.

•Virginia (11-3, 1-0) will try to keep its momentum going after Sunday’s win over North Carolina by traveling tonight to Wake Forest (7-6, 0-1). Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m.

While the Cavaliers are seeking their first 2-0 start in the ACC since beginning 3-0 in the 2009-2010 season, they have struggled at Wake Forest.

Virginia is 0-8 in its last eight games at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum, and 1-6 in its last seven games with the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest holds a 69-60 edge on the Cavaliers.

Joe Harris leads Virginia, and is seventh in the ACC with 15.3 points per game. He is second in three-point accuracy at 46.9 percent.

Akil Mitchell has provided 12.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and five double-doubles. Mitchell is fourth in the ACC on the boards.

Virginia has been stingy, allowing just 50.8 points a game. The Cavaliers are in the top seven nationally in seven defensive categories, having held 11 opponents under 60 points and foes are shooting 35.4 percent from the field against Virginia.

Offensively, Virginia is averaging 64.5 points per game and has scored 60 or more points 10 times.

The Cavaliers are shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3-point range.

Senior point guard Jontel Evans returned from injury for the win over North Carolina and contributed eight points and six assists.

Travis McKie leads Wake Forest, scoring 15.1 points a game, while C.J. Harris follows at 14.6. McKie also pulls down 8.2 rebounds a contest.

The Jeff Bzdelik-coached Deacons had their three-game losing snapped in its ACC opener against top-ranked Duke.