BLACKSBURG — The Virginia Tech Hokies needed a total team effort Tuesday night to earn their fourth victory of the season, knocking off the Furman Paladins 75-54 at Cassell Coliseum.
Forward Jarell Eddie scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to guide Tech (4-3), his second double-double of the season.
“Just being able to attack the basket off of closeouts, and guys trying to rotate to me,” Eddie said of his success this year. “That's something I tried to work on during the season, was just trying to attack the rim and to finish.”
Five Hokies scored in double figures, six players scored at least nine points, and seven broke into the scoring column to provide Tech the kind of balanced effort that Coach James Johnson hopes to consistently see from his team all season.
“That's how it's going to be this year,” Johnson said. “I think we've got four or five guys that can stay up and average in double figures. That's how it's going to be night in and night out.”
Forward Marshall Wood and guard Will Johnston combined to hit seven 3-pointers to pace Virginia Tech off the bench. Johnston hit four 3s to score a career-high 12 points.
Guard Adam Smith did most of his damage in the first half, tacking on 11 points for the Hokies.
Freshman point guard Devin Wilson dished out 11 assists, the most for a Tech freshman since Dell Curry did it against Maryland Eastern Shore in 1982.
After an abysmal first half, Furman tried to make the game interesting in the opening minutes of the second half. The Paladins started 8-for-14 from the field and went on a 10-0 run to cut the Tech lead to 46-35.
Tech's length and outside shooting would prove to be too much, though, as Furman couldn't keep pace with the Hokies' deeper bench and up-tempo attack.
Sophomore guard Stephen Croone was the brightest spot for Furman (2-3). He scored 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting.
Furman coach Niko Medved liked what he saw from his star guard but not from his team.
“Stephen's got to create offense for others as well as score,” Medved said. “He's really having a good season. He's really buying in, and we've just got to get some production from other areas too.”
Furman struggled mightily in the first half. After Croone knocked down a jumper in the opening minute, the Paladins went 10:19 without a field goal. The Hokies took advantage of Furman's drought, going on an 18-1 run to provide an early cushion.
Despite an ugly first half, Tech took a 31-17 lead into intermission as Johnston knocked down a corner 3-pointer as time expired. The Hokies turned the ball over nine times and shot just 41.7 percent from the floor in the first half.
Luckily for Tech, however, Furman shot 20.8 percent in the first half. The Paladins also turned the ball over nine times.
“I'll give their defense credit,” Medved said. “It was decent defense and poor offense, and that's kind of what happens.”
Croone, who averages 21.0 points per game, accounted for 13 of Furman's 17 points in the first half.
Smith suffered a violent collision with Croone early in the game. Smith was taken to the training room with an apparent leg injury, but he quickly returned to pour in eight first-half points.
Eddie has put together quite a week for the Hokies. The senior was named to the all-tournament team at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., though the Hokies went 0-2 there. He scored 23 points on top-ranked Michigan State on Friday and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Seton Hall on Saturday.
Hokies freshman guard Ben Emelogu did not dress for the game due to flu-like symptoms. He is averaging 14.3 points per game and is shooting 49.2 percent from the floor. …
Furman and Virginia Tech met for the 26th time, but Tuesday's game was their first matchup since 1965, when both schools were members of the Southern Conference. …
Virginia Tech hosts nearby rival Radford on Friday. Furman heads home to host Brevard on Saturday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun