Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rams flatten already thin Hokies basketball team

Colorado State outscores Virginia Tech 55-25 in the second half to hand Tech its worst loss in five years.

Virginia Tech Hokies basketball

Berman Courtside

LAS VEGAS -- Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy told his players at halftime to stick with it, to keep taking their shots, and they would fall.

The message must have sunk in.

Pierce Hornung had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead four players scoring in double figures as the Rams beat Virginia Tech 88-52 in the Las Vegas Classic championship game late Sunday night.

After a methodical and balanced approach in a first half that gave them a 33-27 lead at halftime, the Rams (10-2) opened the second half on a 12-2 run to build a 45-31 lead with 15:58 to go. They outscored the Hokies 55-25 in the second half.

"We had to play four games in seven days and we handled it well," Eustachy said. "This team has a tendency not to start great and we're going to get better at that. I just thought we showed some terrific toughness throughout the week and all the way to this last game. We weren't tired. We could have played another day and a half. We've got men."

It was the most lopsided loss for the Hokies since a 92-53 loss at North Carolina in the 2007-08 season. It was the most lopsided nonleague loss for the Hokies since a 101-52 loss at West Virginia in the 1988-89 season.

Erick Green had half of the Hokies' points: 26. He had 10 baskets, one more than the rest of his team combined.

Green was 10-of-21 from the field, while the rest of the team was 9-of-32 combined (28 percent).

The 88 points were the most allowed by Tech since a 104-100 double-overtime loss to Maryland in 2009-10.

"Colorado State played a great game," Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. "They were sharp, they were crisp with their passes, and they shot the ball extremely well. I've got to give them credit, that's a really good team."

It was the second game in as many nights for the Hokies (9-3), who are down to seven scholarship players. It was Tech's second straight game without injured reserve forward Marshall Wood.

"I think Virginia Tech is beat up and they have had the flu go through their team," Eustachy said. "I just think they were empty. I wouldn't want to play them when they're fresh in Blacksburg. We didn't get their best shot, and it's not their fault."

The Rams shot 47.6 percent from the field to Tech's 35.8 percent. The Rams shot 58.6 percent from the field in the second half.

Robert Brown's shooting slump continued. The Tech guard was 0-of-8 from the field and 0-of-2 from the free-throw line with four fouls in 21 minutes. He is shooting 13 percent from the field the past four games combined.

Tech's Jarell Eddie was 4-of-10 from the field and scored 10 points. Cadarian Raines had two points, four rebounds and four fouls in 21 minutes.

Playing in front of a sparse crowd at the Orleans Arena, the Rams built a 54-31 lead with 12:51 left. The lead grew to 77-39 with 5:26 left.

Colorado State was 11-of-24 from 3-point range, including 8-of-12 in the second half. Tech has allowed at least 10 3-pointers in each of its losses.

Dorian Green scored 18 points for the Rams, while Greg Smith had 17 and Colton Iverson added 15.

"This team has so many weapons, everyone on the team can score, and we're so balanced that if you try and take away one thing, it's going to leave another guy open," Iverson said. "They tried to double in the post, and we rotated the ball really well, and we had open guys all night long."

The Rams, who entered last week leading the NCAA in rebounding margin, outrebounded the Hokies 45-32.

Green tied the Tech records for the most consecutive 20-point games (12) to begin a season and the most consecutive 20-point games at any point in a season. Bob Ayersman set both marks in 1958-59.

Tech was just 8-of-16 from the free-throw line.

VIRGINIA TECH (9-3)

Brown 0-8 0-2 0, Raines 1-2 0-0 2, Green 10-21 4-5 26, Eddie 4-10 0-0 10, Barksdale 2-4 0-2 4, Van Zegeren 0-0 2-3 2, Patrick 0-1 0-0 0, Rankin 1-4 0-0 3, Donlon 0-0 0-0 0, Beyer 0-2 0-0 0, Racer 0-0 1-2 1, Johnston 1-1 1-2 4. Totals 19-53 8-16 52.

COLORADO ST. (10-2)

Hornung 6-7 5-6 18, Eikmeier 2-10 0-0 5, Green 6-10 1-2 18, G. Smith 6-11 3-8 17, Iverson 5-9 5-7 15, Bejarano 2-4 1-2 6, Octeus 0-6 0-0 0, De Ciman 1-2 2-2 5, Mason 1-3 0-0 2, Santo 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-63 17-27 88.

Halftime-Colorado St. 33-27. 3-Point Goals-Virginia Tech 6-21 (Eddie 2-4, Green 2-7, Johnston 1-1, Rankin 1-4, Beyer 0-1, Patrick 0-1, Brown 0-3), Colorado St. 11-24 (Green 5-6, G. Smith 2-3, Hornung 1-1, Bejarano 1-2, De Ciman 1-2, Eikmeier 1-6, Mason 0-1, Octeus 0-3). Fouled Out-Rankin. Rebounds-Virginia Tech 32 (Barksdale, Eddie, Green 5), Colorado St. 45 (Hornung 10). Assists-Virginia Tech 4 (Green 3), Colorado St. 22 (Eikmeier, Green 6). Total Fouls-Virginia Tech 21, Colorado St. 15. A-NA.

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