Friday, February 01, 2013

Erick Green still scoring as Hokies lose

The point guard continues his run as the nation's scoring leader against the ACC's top defenses.

Virginia Tech's Erick Green scored 30 points against Miami on Wednesday. Two games earlier, he put up 35 against UVa.

Associated Press

Virginia Tech's Erick Green scored 30 points against Miami on Wednesday. Two games earlier, he put up 35 against UVa.

Virginia Tech Hokies basketball

Berman Courtside

BLACKSBURG -- It's a safe bet that this Virginia Tech men's basketball season won't be remembered for a stellar won-loss record.

But it will be remembered for the Erick Green show.

Green once again made his mark against one of the ACC's better defenses, scoring 30 points in a 73-64 loss to Miami on Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies have lost seven of their last nine games, but it's not because of Green. He remains the nation's scoring leader, averaging 25.5 points.

"I'm having fun," Green said after the game. "This is the most fun I've had in my four years. And I know we're losing, [so] it's probably crazy for me to say that. But I'm having a great time with these guys in my last year. These guys are getting me open and I'm just making shots.

"I wouldn't trade this for the world."

In the past three games, the Hokies (11-9, 2-5) have faced the top three teams in the ACC in scoring defense - Virginia, Clemson and Miami. But Green's scoring average continues to rise. He scored 35 against UVa and 25 at Clemson.

"I read the paper. I read what people say - they're going to try to shut me down," Green said. "So I take the challenge, and try to challenge myself that I'm not going to allow you to shut me down. I don't care how many people you throw at me."

Green was 11 of 20 from the field Wednesday, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. His field-goal percentage this season is impressive for a guard - 49.8 percent.

But Green lacks a good supporting cast. His team is in 10th place and on a three-game skid.

"It's amazing what he's doing," Tech coach James Johnson said. "He needs a little bit more help."

On Wednesday, Tech got 62 points combined from Green, Jarell Eddie, Robert Brown and an ill Cadarian Raines. But the Hokies got two points combined from starters Joey van Zegeren, C.J. Barksdale and Marquis Rankin and backup Marshall Wood.

Van Zegeren, Barksdale, Rankin and Wood were a combined 1 of 16 from the field Wednesday.

"Two points out of three starters, and another zero out of freshman Marshall Wood coming off the bench," Johnson said. "And those guys are guys that we have to play."

"We've got to get other guys - Marshall Wood, Joey, Quis - we've got to get other guys to step up and make plays," Green said.

The Hokies are at least helping Green when it comes to setting screens for him.

"His teammates have done a remarkable job of getting him open," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

When Larranaga was the coach at George Mason, he recruited Green before the Winchester native chose the Hokies.

"I thought going to Virginia Tech, he would have a very nice career. But he's developed into the leading scorer in the country. That's a whole 'nother level," Larranaga said. "When everybody's attention is on you, you're going to get every defender's best effort. You're getting every team's best defender on the perimeter. It is very, very hard to continue to produce the way he has. It's a remarkable accomplishment."

Green enjoyed his duel with Miami point guard Shane Larkin.

Durand Scott began the game defending Green, but Larranaga soon gave the job to the quicker Larkin. But the 5-foot-11 Larkin couldn't contain the 6-4 Green, either.

"I just read people's feet. I read their body and see how they move and react," Green said. "He's kind of small, so I can shoot over the top of him. I have a good lift on my jump shot."

Green had trouble defensively against Larkin because of Miami's screens. Larkin had 25 points and a career-high five 3-pointers.

Tech was outscored 44-32 in the second half, when Green had 18 points.

Eddie was 3 of 4 from the field in the first half but took just one shot - he made it - in the second half. Brown was 3 of 3 from the field in the first half but took just two shots in the second half (and missed both).

"They've got to look for their shots more," Green said of Eddie and Brown. "They've got to be more aggressive."

But Johnson disagreed.

"When you've got Erick, รข? there's not many opportunities for those guys," he said. "When he's got the hot hand like that, we're going to ride him, and those guys are going to have to play off of him."

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