Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green often talks about how he wants to leave behind a legacy in Blacksburg, and he has done plenty of late to elevate his standing within Hokies basketball lore.
Already this season, the Winchester native has become the 43rd player in program history to score more than 1,000 career points and earned consecutive ACC player of the week honors. If he scores 20 or more points Monday night against Mississippi Valley State, Green would tie Bimbo Coles as the only Virginia Tech players since 1989-90 to start the season finishing above the 20-point mark in nine straight games.
But on Saturday, Green added another notch to what is fast becoming a legendary final season in maroon and orange when the Hokies suffered their first loss of the season at West Virginia. And it had nothing to do with the 23-point, 10-assist, 4-rebound, 0-turnover stat line that Green put together in Morgantown, W.Va.
Virginia Tech Coach James Johnson confirmed Monday that Green played against the Mountaineers with flu-like symptoms and did not practice during the three days leading into the game.
“He is a winning warrior, man,” Johnson wrote in a text message.
Green did miss the potential game-winning shot at the buzzer after West Virginia scored a late basket to regain the lead, part of an off shooting night for him from the perimeter (8 of 19).
That makes more sense now given Green’s condition leading into the contest, and he still ranks second in the country averaging 24.6 points per game this season. But it didn’t make the bitter ending easier to take.
“It hurts because it showed that they wanted it more,” Green said in the immediate aftermath of Virginia Tech’s first defeat of the season. “I’m a winner and I hate to lose and that hurt.”
The Hokies take on Mississippi Valley State on Monday night at Cassell Coliseum as part of the Las Vegas Tire Classic, which they will participate in over the Christmas holiday. The Delta Devils are 0-5 this season after losing at Virginia, 67-39, Saturday.