Virginia Tech beat #15 Oklahoma State 81-71 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to run their record to 7-0. The Cowboys dropped to 5-1 on the year. It was Tech’s first non-conference victory over a ranked team since they knocked off UVA in 1995.
Erick Green picked up two quick fouls in the first two minutes and only played nine minutes in the first half. As a result, Oklahoma State held a 36-32 halftime lead. However, Green returned in the second half, scored 10 quick points, and then hit key free throws down the stretch. He finished with a career-high 28 points and seven rebounds in just 26 minutes.
“Green is one of the top five point guards in the country,” Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said after the game.
Ford also had a lot of good things to say about the crowd following the game. He opened his talk to the media with comments about the student section, without being prompted.
“I was really impressed with the environment, with the student section of the crowd,” Ford said. “That was an impressive crowd for early December.”
Erick Green had help from three teammates who scored in double figures:
Jarell Eddie : 15 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block
Robert Brown : 18 points, 6 rebounds
Cadarian Raines : 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
Marshall Wood also came off the bench to score eight points and grab five rebounds.
Free throw shooting was critical for the Hokies once again. Tech went 27-of-33 (81.8%) from the charity stripe, and they shot 50% (13-of-26) from the field in the second half. They outscored the Cowboys 49-32 over the final 19:46 of the game, after OSU took a 39-32 lead early in the second half.
Oklahoma State features two possible NBA draft picks in sophomore Le’Bryan Nash and freshman Marcus Smart, but Tech’s defense was improved in the second half.
“They do have some really good players on that team,” Jarell Eddie noted. “It’s a good team. Being able to beat them, play good defense down the stretch and get the win, it’s going to be a big confidence boost for us.”
James Johnson was pleased with the win, especially considering the Hokies had to respond to Erick Green being in foul trouble.
“Big win for the Hokies,” Johnson said. “For us to win that game, especially with the leading scorer getting two quick fouls, those other guys stayed in there and we actually took the lead without him on the floor. [Oklahoma State] came back, took the lead at halftime, and we showed a lot of heart and a lot of guts.”
Along with Duke, Virginia Tech is one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the ACC. The Hokies will face their first major road test next Saturday, when they travel to Morgantown to take on border rival West Virginia. Tipoff is scheduled for 4pm and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.