Green wears out in de­feat

Guard col­lapses from de­hy­dra­tion as Hok­ies drop sixth in a row

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

blacks­burg, va. — Vir­ginia Tech point guard Erick Green col­lapsed in a chair once the timeout ended and play re­sumed, im­me­di­ately lean­ing his head against fresh­man Mar­shall Wood’s shoul­der.

Only 31 sec­onds re­mained in the Hok­ies’ 64-54 loss to Ge­or­gia Tech on Satur­day and Green had just hit a jumper. But his body had al­ready checked out.

Wood tapped Green on the shoul­der to make sure he was awake. When he no­ticed Green’s eyes closed, Wood waved over team train­ers. Af­ter car­ry­ing the Hok­ies on his back for 22 games and more than 39 min­utes Satur­day, the na­tion’s lead­ing scorer needed to be car­ried off the court by Wood and walk-on Greg Don­lon as the fi­nal buzzer sounded.

A team spokesman said Green was suf­fer­ing from de­hy­dra­tion and did not re­quire hos­pi­tal­iza­tion be­cause his vi­tal signs were all fine. But even Coach James John­son un­der­stood one game hadn’t caused this scare. It was the cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of be­ing the only re­li­able op­tion for a pro- gram that now sits in last place in the ACC af­ter six straight losses.

“He didn’t faint, but he didn’t have any en­ergy,” John­son said af­ter Vir­ginia Tech (11-12, 2-8) fell be­low .500 over­all for the first time this sea­son. “He was out of gas and out of fumes. He had noth­ing in the tank. Noth­ing.”

Ge­or­gia Tech Coach Brian Gre­gory said Green was his choice for con­fer­ence player of the year af­ter the former All-Met torched the Yel­low Jack­ets for 28 points, but the Hok­ies suf­fered a de­feat that was more lop­sided than the fi­nal score sug­gested be­cause his sup­port­ing cast again failed to de­liver.

Play­ing through a calf in­jury, Green con­nected on nine field goals Satur­day and ended up outscor­ing the rest of his team­mates, who com­bined for just 10 made bas­kets. Shoot­ing guard Robert Brown was the only other Vir­ginia Tech player to score in dou­ble fig­ures (10 points), but it came on 4-of-16 shoot­ing.

For a sec­ond straight game, the Hok­ies set a new sea­son low by shoot­ing 30.6 per­cent from the floor. Af­ter this lat­est set­back, though, John­son could be heard yelling at his play­ers from out­side Vir­ginia Tech’s locker room.

For­ward Jarell Ed­die, the team’s sec­ond-lead­ing scorer, did not play the fi­nal 17 min­utes 18 sec­onds of the game and was held score­less for the first time this sea­son. The bench­ing came af­ter he slammed a water bot­tle so hard on the ground af­ter pick­ing up a third foul, the top popped off and ice and water spilled onto the court. Be­fore of­fi­cials could stop play, Brown slipped and fell on the de­bris, nar­rowly avoid­ing in­jury.

“We just need to have more from more guys,” Brown said. John­son “feels some guys didn’t give it all they had at the end of the game when it was kind out of hand.”

In its sec­ond con­test in less than 48 hours, Vir­ginia Tech quickly en­sured there would be no half­time lead to fum­ble away, as hap­pened in re­cent losses to Mi­ami, North Carolina and Mary­land. The Hok­ies needed more than seven min­utes to score their first field goal and trailed by 25 at home against Ge­or­gia Tech (13-9, 3-7), which en­tered Satur­day win­less on the road this sea­son.

The Hok­ies closed the gap to 11 when the Yel­low Jack­ets went more than nine min­utes with­out a field goal in the sec­ond half. Green and walk-on Will John­ston scored ev­ery point dur­ing a 15-1 surge, but Vir­ginia Tech couldn’t draw to within sin­gle dig­its un­til Green’s fi­nal jumper, the out­come long since de­cided.

“You want a lot of stuff to go through him, but at times, it can’t go through him all the time,” John­son said. “It’s spe­cial to have a guy like Green out there on the floor, but you need some other guys. You need other guys to step up and make plays.”

DANIEL LIN/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

“He had noth­ing in the tank. Noth­ing, ” Vir­ginia Tech Coach James John­son said of Erick Green, above.

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