Erick Green's 24 lead Virginia Tech past Iowa, 95-79
Virginia Tech's Erick Green goes around Iowa's Mike Gesell into the lane Tuesday in Blackburg, Va.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Erick Green, Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown have already developed a reputation as the guys that make Virginia Tech's running style under first-year head coach James Johnson work, in large part because of their ability to score.
But even knowing that didn't allow Iowa to slow Green or Brown on Tuesday night.
Green scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half, and Brown finished with 18 as the Hokies improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1982-83 season with a 95-79 victory against Iowa in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
In Johnson's first year as coach, Green can't imagine being in a better situation, or having more fun.
"I have a lot of freedom. I understand the game a lot better than I have before, just with pick-and-rolls and finding my teammates," Green, the Hokies' lone seniors, said. "When I find my teammates, that opens things up for me. They (defenders) can't focus on me. I finally opened up in the second half and hit that run. Just confidence. Coach Johnson is giving me the ball and letting me do what I do best. I feel honestly that I'm in a great situation right now."
Green scored 13 as the Hokies broke away with a 19-1 run spanning the halves. Virginia Tech then withstood a run that pulled the Hawkeyes to within 57-54 with 12 minutes left before rebuilding the margin with a 12-4 burst.
"Coach Johnson told us to calm down," Brown said. "He told us at halftime that they were going tom make a run. Every team does. He told us in the timeout that they had made their run and now it was time for us to make ours, and we did."
Aaron White had 21 points to lead the Hawkeyes (5-2) and Roy Devyn Marble added 18.
Virginia Tech tried to take command to start the second half as Green scored the first nine points, extending the Hokies' lead to 55-38 -- their largest to that point after what had been a very close first half.
Iowa missed its first nine shots after the intermission, then made most everything over the next five minutes. Marble scored six points and White four in a 14-0 run that pulled the Hawkeyes to within 55-52.
A driving, left-handed layup by Eddie ended a 4½-minute scoring drought for the Hokies, and rejuvenated their fast-paced approach with instant results. The Hokies used a 14-6 burst to rebuild their lead to 69-58 with 9:03 left.
"Once we had it to a one-possession game, our defensive intensity, concentration and focus wasn't really what it need to be, partly because I thought we had a tired team at that point," Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said. "As tough as we were in that stretch when we had the 16-2 run, we needed to be tougher (after it), and we weren't."
They also had a tough time keeping track of Green, the nation's fifth-leading scorer coming in with a 24.4 average.
"He's a guy that seems to have a real good feel for what his team needs at a particular time," McCaffrey said.
White scored two straight baskets for Iowa to cut the lead to 69-62, but it was Iowa's last challenge as Brown followed with a 3-pointer and Cadarian Raines added a putback for Virginia Tech. The lead was back up to 74-62, and the Hawkeyes got no closer than nine thereafter in falling to 0-3 in their history against Virginia Tech.
The Hokies led 46-38 after a close first half in which both teams shot 50 percent -- both were 15 of 30.
All nine Hokies that played scored, and eight players scored for Iowa.
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