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Question of the Day
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Virginia Tech rang in the new year by getting its bell rung.
Maryland jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the opening minutes and never trailed, drilling Virginia Tech 94-71 on Saturday at a sold-out Comcast Center.
"For some reason, we can't come out and smack 'em in the mouth," Tech senior guard Erick Green said after scoring a game-high 28 points in the loss. "We always get smacked in the mouth first."
Saturday, it was Maryland freshman forward Jake Layman landing the early punches in the ACC basketball opener for both schools. Layman, who entered the game averaging 3.2 points per outing, scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half, drilling four 3-pointers before the break.
The Terrapins (13-1, 1-0 ACC) went 10 for 23 from 3-point range, hitting seven of their 14 first-half attempts from beyond the arc, and won their 13th straight game after opening the year with a narrow loss to Kentucky.
Layman got things started, hitting his first shot just 11 seconds into the game.
"He got hot. It kind of caught me off guard," Green said. "I didn't think he was going to score that much. He did a good job and we didn't control him well."
The Hokies' first game in 2013 produced a familiar result to the way the team ended last year. It was Tech's most lopsided conference defeat since losing 69-44 to Duke in the 2008-09 season and was the third straight game the Hokies (9-5, 0-1) were blown out by more than 20 points.
They lost by 36 to Colorado State and 26 to BYU to close out 2012.
This is the first time since the 1936-37 season that the Hokies have lost three straight games by 20 points or more. That year they lost to Washington & Lee, Catholic and Navy.
Tech now has lost five of its past seven games after being 7-0.
"It happens," sophomore guard Robert Brown said, after scoring 11 points on 4 of 15 shooting. "Teams start hot. They got cold and then they get hot again. Hopefully we can turn this around real soon."
Saturday, already short-handed, Tech played without sophomore forward C.J. Barksdale, who first-year coach James Johnson benched for a lack of effort in games and practices.
Redshirt freshman Joey van Zegeren started in Barksdale's place. Barksdale never left the bench, with his minutes going to walk-on Christian Beyer.
"One of the things I've been talking about is effort and competing and playing hard and I think right now we've got some guys that are giving more effort and playing harder than C.J. right now," Johnson said. "Last game, Beyer came out with 11 rebounds and van Zegeren is competing and playing like I want him to play. We're gonna need him, but right now other guys are playing a little better. ... He's been a starter all year and he just hasn't been getting it done and I want to try some other guys."
The Hokies, who started the year with just eight available scholarship players, also were without freshman forward Marshall Wood, who is out indefinitely with a broken left foot.
Tech did have some measure of success on the boards against the Terrapins, one of the nation's top rebounding teams. Maryland only outrebounded the Hokies 41-38, with that margin coming from an 8-4 edge for the Terrapins in the first eight minutes.
Junior forward Cadarian Raines (Petersburg) led Tech with a career-high 13 rebounds.
Raines and van Zegeren combined to limit NBA prospect Alex Len to 16 points and nine rebounds.
But with a game plan geared to limiting Maryland in the paint, Tech got burned from the outside. And it led to another rout.
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