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Erick Green scores 29 points as the Hokies prevail over Clemson 69-61 on Saturday.
AUSTIN HODGES | Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech guard Erick Green (right) scored 29 points on senior night Saturday. “I definitely wanted to put on a show for everybody,” Green said.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
BLACKSBURG -- There have been Virginia Tech stars, such as Zabian Dowdell and Malcolm Delaney, who have not been able to win on their senior night.
But in his final game at Cassell Coliseum, in a season when the Hokies have lost a lot of games, Erick Green went out a winner Saturday.
Green had 29 points and five 3-pointers on his senior night to lead the Hokies to a 69-61 win over Clemson.
"It don't get better than this," said Green, the nation's leading scorer. "My mom and dad told me, 'At the end of the day, make it one the Hokie fans will remember.' And I definitely think this is one someone will remember.
"I definitely wanted to put on a show for everybody."
Tech (13-16, 4-12 ACC) had lost on senior night in five of the past seven years, including the past two. Dowdell, Jamon Gordon and Coleman Collins lost to Clemson on their senior night in 2007. Delaney, Jeff Allen and Terrell Bell lost on their senior night to Boston College two years ago.
It was really important to win Saturday, said Green.
"I told the guys before the game, 'This is one thing I really want ... because I started with a win my first career game here and I want to end with a win walking out,' " Green said. "And I did."
It had been an emotional few days for the senior point guard as his final home game neared.
"I've been hurting these last couple days," Green said. "That's all I've been thinking about, sitting in my room. I'm going to miss these guys. I'm going to miss the crowd.
"It's going to be something I'm always going to remember, just this whole place."
But Green said he "didn't even think about" those emotions during the game. He was 8 of 12 from the field, including 6 of 7 in the first half.
"He's ... even keel all the time," Tech coach James Johnson said. "He's like a Peyton Manning or a [Tom] Brady out there."
The Hokies led the entire second half.
"We've been 0-2 on senior night the last two years, so this means a lot, to come out and get this win for Erick," said C.J. Barksdale, who had four clutch free throws in the final minute.
Green had 17 points and four 3-pointers in the first half to help Tech build a 36-25 halftime lead.
It looked like Green was going to finish the game with 30 points, but he made just one of two free throws with 9.5 seconds left.
"Trust me, I'm definitely going to hear about this from my family," Green said with a grin. "They're going to give me a hard time."
Green was honored in a pregame ceremony. He walked onto the court with his parents as the fans gave him a standing ovation.
"I was teared up," Green said.
Green had contemplated transferring when Seth Greenberg was fired as coach last spring but opted to stay when Johnson was hired.
"I'm definitely happy I didn't transfer," he said with a laugh. "I didn't want to miss this."
Green sank a 3-pointer for the game's first basket, then grinned at the Tech fans. He was 4 of 5 from 3-point range in the first half.
"Me and my dad were joking before the game and I told him if I hit the first one, it's going to be a great night," he said.
Tech guard Robert Brown had 11 points in the half and finished with 13, his most points since Dec. 29. He was 6 of 8 from the field, his most baskets since Dec. 8.
Clemson (13-15, 5-11) went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 46-43 with 11:32 to go.
With Tech leading 57-53, Green made a 3-pointer for a 60-53 lead with 3:40 left.
Clemson cut the lead to 60-57, but Green answered with two free throws. The Tigers cut the lead to 62-59, but Green made two more free throws.
Adonis Filer sank two free throws to cut the lead to 64-61 with 1:20 left. But the freshman missed a 3-pointer with 54 seconds to go and missed two free throws with 35.2 seconds left, leaving the score 64-61.
Barksdale (14 points, eight rebounds) sank four free throws to extend the lead to 68-61. Green then made one of two free throws.
Green took a long postgame lap around Cassell as he shook hands with fans, hugged fans, slapped hands with fans and signed autographs.
"I'm going to really miss this," Green said.
Jennings 6-13 0-0 13, Booker 5-8 7-10 17, Hall 3-7 0-0 6, Roper 2-9 0-0 6, Harrison 3-8 0-0 6, Filer 4-8 4-6 13, Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Nnoko 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-54 11-16 61.
VIRGINIA TECH (13-16)
Raines 1-1 0-0 2, Eddie 2-6 3-4 7, Barksdale 4-7 6-6 14, Brown 6-8 0-2 13, Green 8-12 8-10 29, Van Zegeren 2-4 0-0 4, Rankin 0-1 0-0 0, Racer 0-0 0-0 0, Johnston 0-1 0-0 0, Wood 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-42 17-22 69.
Halftime—Virginia Tech 36-25. 3-Point Goals—Clemson 4-16 (Roper 2-4, Filer 1-3, Jennings 1-7, Harrison 0-2), Virginia Tech 6-13 (Green 5-7, Brown 1-3, Johnston 0-1, Rankin 0-1, Eddie 0-1). Fouled Out—Hall. Rebounds—Clemson 21 (Jennings 8), Virginia Tech 33 (Barksdale 8). Assists—Clemson 11 (Hall 4), Virginia Tech 5 (Eddie 2). Total Fouls—Clemson 16, Virginia Tech 14. A—5,184.
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