Erick Green’s last second shot bounced off the front of the rim, and Virginia Tech lost their first game of the season, narrowly falling to West Virginia 68-67 in Morgantown. The Hokies dropped to 7-1 with the loss, while WVU improved to 4-3.
Tech trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, but rallied to take the lead in various parts of the second half. Robert Brown banked in a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining, and that put the Hokies up by a point. However, a huge defensive breakdown with only five seconds left in the game gave West Virginia the win.
On West Virginia’s last possession, Juwan Staten beat Robert Brown off the dribble and was heading towards the basket. Erick Green was in a position to get in his way, but he chose to vacate the area to defend the kickout to the three-point line. Once Staten cleared Green, there was no help on the inside, and the Mountaineers got the easy layup to take the lead. Tech got a good look on Green’s last second shot, but it was just off.
Three things happened in this game that cost Virginia Tech the win…
1: West Virginia’s offensive rebounding. The bigger Mountaineers grabbed 23 offensive rebounds against Tech, and they got a lot of second chance opportunities. WVU shot just 35.3% for the game, but the offensive rebounds helped them out on the offensive end.
2: West Virginia came into the game shooting only 23% from three-point range. They shot 10-of-24 (41.7%) against Virginia Tech. Sophomore forward Kevin Noreen, who entered the game averaging just 1.3 points per game in 12.5 minutes per game, played 33 minutes and scored 14 points while pulling down 12 rebounds. He made two of his three 3-point attempts. Noreen also had seven offensive rebounds.
3: Jarrell Eddie picked up his fourth foul early in the second half. He played just 20 minutes, and only scored five points. With Eddie on the bench, Tech had to play Marquis Rankin for 25 minutes. Though he had four rebounds and two assists, he didn’t score and was 0-of-5 from the field.
Erick Green paced Virginia Tech with 23 points and 10 assists. It was his first career double-double. He didn’t commit a turnover. Robert Brown added 21 points for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Monday night, when they host Mississippi Valley State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will can be viewed online on ESPN3.