Hok­ies beat up ’Noles

Allen’s 24 points, 11 re­bounds help beat Semi­noles

The Washington Post Sunday - - SPORTS - BY MARK GIANNOTTO gi­an­not­tom@wash­post.com

Play­ing through in­jury, Jeff Allen has 24 points and 11 re­bounds in Va. Tech’s 71-59 de­feat of Florida State.

blacks­burg, va. — Vir­ginia Tech se­nior Jeff Allen isn’t ex­actly sure how he strained his groin. The pain, he says, comes and goes. So be­fore Satur­day’s 71-59 vic­tory over Florida State, he took a cou­ple of painkillers to help deal with the nag­ging sen­sa­tion the in­jury causes.

Those pills, it seems, cured what­ever ailed the 6-foot-7 for­ward. Allen scored a game-high 24 points and grabbed 11 re­bounds to lead the Hok­ies to their sixth straight win and first ACC vic­tory of the sea­son. In the process, he may have re-ig­nited hope that a team rav­aged by in­juries could still make the NCAA tour­na­ment.

Cov­ered by de­fen­sive whiz Chris Sin­gle­ton for much of the con­test, Allen took con­trol af­ter half­time. Af­ter the Semi­noles had cut Vir­ginia Tech’s 10-point half­time lead to five, Allen scored nine of the Hok­ies’ next 11 points to widen the mar­gin back to 10.

The Washington na­tive fin­ished the game 10 of 12 from the free throw line, part of a 34-of-37 per­for­mance by the team.

“I was just feel­ing hot to­day,” said Allen af­ter his fifth dou­ble­dou­ble in the past six games. “I went out and played hard, played through the groin in­jury, and we came out with the win.”

Florida State Coach Leonard Hamil­ton said Allen “took us to the wood­shed.”

GuardMal­colm De­laney added 13 points and shot just 3 of 10 from the field. But he had per­haps the biggest play of the game, hit­ting a jumper and draw­ing a foul af­ter the Semi­noles had closed to within four with less than eight min­utes re­main­ing.

Af­ter De­laney made the free throw, Vir­ginia Tech (10-4, 1-1 ACC) re­built its lead back into dou­ble dig­its and never looked back. Sopho­more Erick Green aided the cause­down­the stretch with 12 points, go­ing 8 for 8 from the free throw line.

And while this vic­tory will go down as the 500th for Vir­ginia Tech in the his­tory of Cas­sell Coli­seum, Coach Seth Green­berg will re­mem­ber this win for how the Hok­ies played de­fense.

With a de­pleted ros­ter be­cause of four sea­son-end­ing in­juries that has left Vir­ginia Tech with just eight schol­ar­ship play­ers, Green­berg de­cided to go against his man-to-man ten­den­cies and played a 2-3 zone for most of the con­test.

The strat­egy worked to per­fec­tion, as aside from Sin­gle­ton (22 points, eight re­bounds), the Semi­noles (11-5, 1-1) never could solve the Hok­ies de­fense. Florida State fin­ished with 19 turnovers and shot just 35.5 per­cent.

It nul­li­fied what­ever ad­van­tage the Semi­noles got from pulling down17 of­fen­sive re­bounds. After­ward Green­berg said he couldn’t re­mem­ber an­other game where he’d played so much zone de­fense.

Allen, too, con­jured up char­ac­ter­is­tics that can only be a good sign for the restof this sea­son. Foul prone for­mu­chof his ca­reer, Allen com­mit­ted two in­frac­tions in the first half but had no oth­ers the rest of the way.

He said the painkillers be­gan to wear off late in the game, and as time wound down, he was hob­bling up and down the court. But Allen sim­ply told him­self to “ block it out” and con­tinue on.

This, it seems, has turned into the motto for all of his team­mates, who have not al­lowed the rash of in­juries to slow them down yet.

Seven out of the eight Hok­ies who­sawac­tion Satur­day scored at least four points, and they com­mit­ted just 13 turnovers. Green­berg em­pha­sized in his postgame re­marks that all this vic­tory showed was that “for one night we could com­pete at the ACC level.”

But there was a sense in the locker room that these makeshift Hok­ies proved some­thing against a Florida State team ex­pected to com­pete for anNCAA­tour­na­ment berth. Asea­son that­seeme­donthe verge of derail­ment is back on track once again.

“I’m not sur­prised that peo­ple counted us out,” De­laney said. “I would, too, be­cause a lot of peo­ple went down; we’re not that deep. But we got some young guys that can play, so now when they get their chance, they’re step­ping up.”

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