Virginia Tech vs. Boston College: Hokies stumble on senior night against Eagles, 76-61

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BLACKSBURG, VA. - Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg spoke in hushed tones as he conducted a postgame radio interview, hiding the emotions that had bubbled over at times just minutes earlier when his team was on the floor.

But then Greenberg rose to his feet and slammed his headset against a press row table as he walked away following the conclusion of the segment. It said everything one needed to know about Virginia Tech's 76-61 loss to Boston College on Tuesday night.

Just three days after fans stormed the Cassell Coliseum court to celebrate a potentially defining win over then-No. 1 Duke, the Hokies suffered a senior night letdown that left Greenberg bewildered.

"I'm embarrassed. That's about the only way I can describe that," Greenberg said. On Monday "we had an absolutely phenomenal practice; today, I looked in their eyes at shoot-around and we got what I saw. . . . There was no sense of urgency in anything we did, right down to the end."

The Hokies fell behind by 20 points in the second half - the largest deficit they've faced this season - as the Eagles cruised to a season sweep of the series.

The setback leaves the Hokies (19-9, 9-6 ACC) in a precarious position heading into their final regular season game of the season at Clemson on Saturday. Virginia Tech is just a half-game ahead of the fifth-place Tigers in the ACC standings, and still in search of at least one additional win to pad its NCAA tournament resume.

The Hokies cut the Eagles' lead to five twice to begin the second half after senior Malcolm Delaney and sophomore Erick Green hit consecutive three-pointers. But Boston College soon pushed its advantage back into double digits. The Eagles, who entered Tuesday ranked 10th in the ACC in rebounding, finished with a 38-24 edge on the glass and hit 10 three-pointers.

The Hokies, meanwhile, went seven minutes with just one field goal after their fast start to the second half, a drought Delaney ended with a dunk with 9 minutes 15 seconds left. By that time, though, the Eagles had embarked on an 18-4 run, their lead swelled to 20 and Greenberg had picked up his second technical foul of the season.

Green and Delaney led the Hokies with 21 and 17 points, respectively. Senior Reggie Jackson paced Boston College with 20 points, and forward Corey Raji turned in a 19-point, 12-rebound performance.

"They just wanted it more than us tonight," Green said. "There's no excuse. We can say we were still amped up with the Duke win or whatever. But that game's over with, and we just got outplayed."

The Hokies entered Tuesday surging with wins in four of their past five games since losing at Boston College, 58-56, last month. For a change, the Eagles were the team in desperate need of a win to aid their NCAA tournament chances, having lost six of their last nine games. With the win, Boston College (18-11, 8-7) grabbed sole possession of sixth place in the ACC and moved above .500 in league play.

Whatever momentum the Hokies got from defeating the Blue Devils made no difference early on. With the score tied at six in the opening moments, Boston College went on a 24-6 run after Jackson scored 13 points in the game's first seven minutes.

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