BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Erick Green scored 12 points to lead Virginia Tech to a 71-50 victory over Eastern Michigan on Thursday night.
The Hokies (10-3) head into the Christmas holiday having won five straight games and now take eight days off before a New Year’s Eve date at Oklahoma State.
“I think we’re better than we were, but we’re not as good as we need to be,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “I think that we’re starting to defend the perimeter better. I think we need to be more consistent offensively. Our transition game has improved the last three or four games.
“We challenged this team early on, but we’re very much a work in progress. I do think we have some pieces.”
Virginia Tech put things away by finishing the first half with a 16-0 run and then scoring the first six points of the second half for a 22-0 burst spanning both halves. Eastern Michigan’s Kamil Janton scored with 11:22 left in the first half to cut the Virginia Tech lead to 11-9, but Green started the Hokies’ run with a free throw at the 7:06 mark. The Hokies’ point guard scored half of Virginia Tech’s final 16 first-half points, as the Hokies took a 27-9 lead at the break.
Eastern Michigan (5-7), playing its sixth straight road game – which has included trips to Syracuse and Purdue – made just three shots in the first half and missed its final 10 shots. Spanning both halves, the Eagles went scoreless for 13:38 and ended the drought on Darrell Lampley’s two free throws with 17:44 left in the game.
The nine first-half points by Eastern Michigan marked the second-lowest output in a half in a Division I game this season. Kennesaw State scored eight in the first half of a loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 12.
“It was tough,” Eastern Michigan first-year coach Rob Murphy said. “We played good defense the first 10 minutes, and then at that point, Darrell Lampley picked up his second foul and he came out of the game. We kind of just broke down after that. It’s been tough for us to manufacture points.
“Give Virginia Tech a lot of credit. They made it tough for us. They got around screens and made us shoot contested shots. They played good defense, and we broke down and couldn’t score. That was the breakdown of the game.”
Cadarian Raines added 10 points for the Hokies, while Robert Brown finished with nine. C.J. Barksdale had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Lampley and Antonio Green scored 13 point each to lead the Eagles, who shot a season-low 28.1 percent from the floor (16 of 57). That also marked the lowest shooting percentage by a Virginia Tech opponent this season.
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