Despite struggles, BC not taking Erick Green, Tech lightly

Leading scorer missed 1st game vs. BC, a 2-point loss

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BLACKSBURG — When Virginia Tech traveled to Chestnut Hill on Jan. 14, it played without Erick Green, its top scoring threat and most accomplished open court player.

The Hokies lost 61-59, but Boston College coach Steve Donahue expects Tech to look a bit different when the two teams take the floor again Sunday at 6 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.

Green is the reason.

“I think he’s made himself such a really good all-around player,” Donahue said of Green, who missed the first meeting after spraining his knee in practice two days earlier. “He ran the team last year. Now he’s scoring so much. He’s really dangerous off the dribble. And more than that, he can get to 15 feet and make his shot. And he’s great in transition. He’s so dynamic in the open court.”

In Tech’s most recent disappointing defeat in an increasingly disappointing season, the 6-foot-4 Green, a junior guard, scored 17 points, finishing as the team’s only scorer in double figures.

The Hokies (13-11, 2-7 ACC) have lost eight of their last 10 games, including Thursday’s 65-49 loss at Miami. That 17-turnover slop-fest was a painful reminder that there’s no point pushing the tempo only to turn the ball over.

“We want to push it, there’s no doubt about it,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said this week. “But we have to make better decisions. Running’s one thing, but you have to score.”

Green has reached double digits in each of the last 25 games he has played, but the Hokies have struggled to find other producers, ranking seventh in the conference in scoring at 66.6 points per game.

Still, Thursday’s performance not withstanding, Donahue sees the Hokies as a capable foe despite the fact that they sit just half a game above last place in the ACC.

“I think they’ve been a little unlucky,” Donahue said. “I think they’ve been in so many close games. It’s a fine line between winning and losing.”

Boston College knows that, having had seven of its games decided by five points or fewer. But despite a starting lineup devoid of seniors — the Eagles open with a junior and four freshmen on most nights — Donahue’s team has a 5-2 record in those games.

One of those wins came Wednesday against Florida State.

The Eagles were picked to finish last in the league in the preseason and, for the most part, had lived up to that billing, until a 64-60 upset of No. 15 FSU. Boston College forced 14 turnovers in the win and snapped the Seminoles seven-game conference winning streak.

It also gave the young Eagles a confidence shot-in-the-arm for the rest of the season.

“I don’t want to try to dictate how we come to work each day in terms of wins and losses,” Donahue said. “But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wanted these guys to get some positive results for all the hard work they’ve put in. It reinforces all the things we’ve talked to them about.”

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