On Saturday afternoon, Greenberg had no choice but to rely on everyone else, and it may have stopped the Hokies’ once-promising season in its tracks. With Green, the team’s starting point guard and leading scorer, out with a knee injury, Virginia Tech suffered its worst loss of the season, falling to Boston College, 61-59.
The Hokies are now the only 0-3 squad in the ACC, a record made more ominous by the fact that their next two games are against No. 3 North Carolina and at No. 16 Virginia. After the game, Virginia Tech’s coaches and players stressed that it’s not the time to panic yet, especially because the three league losses have come by a combined nine points.
“A week ago we felt great about our team, so it’s not like all of a sudden we stink,” said Greenberg, whose team entered conference play with a six-game winning streak.
But there was a noticeable difference without Green in the lineup. He sprained his knee in practice on Thursday and did not even take part in pregame warmups Saturday. Greenberg isn’t sure if he’ll be available for Thursday’s home game against the Tar Heels.
In Green’s place, freshman Marquis Rankin got his second career start while shooting guards Dorenzo Hudson and Robert Brown also moved to point guard at times. That trio combined for 12 of the team’s season-high 17 turnovers, several of which resulted in easy layups for the Eagles.
Still, the Hokies stayed close against an Eagles team that was picked to finish last in the ACC this year and entered halftime down by just two points. But Virginia Tech (11-6, 0-3 ACC) went the first eight minutes of the second half without a field goal as Boston College saw its lead swell to 11 points.
Forward Victor Davila paced the Hokies with 14 points and Hudson added 13, but for a third straight game, Virginia Tech shot worse than 40 percent. In fact, before Brown and forward Jarell Eddie hit four three-pointers in the waning moments to make the final score close, the Hokies had just three field goals through 16 minutes of the second half.
“You put [Green] in there, we win this game. But we could’ve played with more confidence and a faster pace offensively,” Brown said. “I feel like we lost this game more than they won it. . . . All those turnovers really lost this game for us.”
Greenberg put it more simply as he walked into his postgame news conference: “So many unforced turnovers. Just painful.”
This loss will hurt worst of all. Though the Hokies are young — with six players who hadn’t played significant minutes in ACC play before this season — Boston College (7-10, 2-1) is younger. Freshman Dennis Clifford, one of 10 first-year players on the Eagles’ roster, led the way with 15 points.
Hudson couldn’t explain why this group has veered off course the past three games, only that “right now we’re coming up on the short end of the stick.”
Greenberg, meanwhile, was visibly frustrated on the sideline throughout the afternoon, cringing and burying his head in his hands often. Before hopping on a plane back to Blacksburg, though, he tried to paint a positive picture on a season that has suddenly gone sour.
“We’re not gonna re-invent ourselves. That’d be foolish,” he said. “Eight days ago we thought we were pretty good. We’re not far from being a pretty good team. It’s little things. We just got to win.”