Virginia Tech held a 31 point lead, got sloppy late, but held on to easily beat VMI 95-80 in Cassell Coliseum on Thursday night. Erick Green surpassed the 1,000 point mark in his career, and the Hokies are now 3-0.
Green finished with 23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. He was 9-of-13 from the field, and made his only three-pointer of the night. Tech’s other four starters finished in double figures as well…
Jarell Eddie: 17 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block in 28 minutes
Cadarian Raines: 14 points and 10 rebounds in 20 minutes
Robert Brown: 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes
C.J. Barksdale: 11 points and six rebounds in 25 minutes
As you can see, James Johnson elected to use his limited bench quite a bit in this game. Will “The Thrill” Johnston had nine points, drilling 3-of-6 from beyond the arc in 19 minutes. Joey van Zegeren had four points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes, while Marshall Wood had six points and two rebounds in 14 minutes. Even walk-on freshman guard Marcus Patrick played 11 minutes to keep the starters fresh.
“I didn’t think I’d be playing this much,” Johnston said after the game. “I thought I’d be playing a couple of contributing minutes, so it’s been awesome.”
Asked about his nickname, Johnston noted that people have used the old Will Clark nickname to describe him since middle school.
C.J. Barksdale had struggled in the first two games of the season, but he felt better about his performance on Thursday night.
“I just came out more aggressive tonight,” said Barksdale, who scored six of Tech’s first nine points. “The first two games I was thinking too much instead of just playing the game.”
Jarell Eddie started slowly, but got things going throughout the game.
“Slow start in the first half, but I was able to get things going in the second half,” Eddie said.
Marshall Wood, who hadn’t been able to connect from the outside in the first two games, came through with a couple of big three-pointers in this one.
“Oh yeah, he (James Johnson) told me to just keep shooting,” Wood noted. “Most of the misses were in and out, nothing too bad.”
VMI head coach Duggar Baucom noted that two little known players came up big for the Hokies, and he also talked about Tech’s outside shooting abilities.
“Will Johnston is barely on our scouting report, and he went 3-for-6,” Baucom told the media after the game. “Marshall Wood came into the game 0-for-8 and he went 2-for-3. That’s 15 points, and it’s a 15-point game. I wasn’t terribly disappointed in our defense. They broke us down some, but if they shoot it 11-for-24 in the ACC, they’ll be good. Really good.”
Through three games, Virginia Tech is shooting 40% (28-of-70) from three-point range. Opponents are shooting just 16.2% from the outside against the Hokies.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Monday, when they will face their first road test. They take on UNC Greensboro at 7pm, and the game can be see online on ESPN3.