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Green's 31 points lead Hokies to overtime win against Bradley

The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- Virginia Tech's Erick Green led the Hokies with a career-high 31 points, including five in a crucial sequence in overtime, in a 66-65 victory over Bradley in the semifinals of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.

Green converted a three-point play and then made a layup following a turnover to put Virginia Tech ahead 66-65 with 18.4 seconds left in overtime. The go-ahead layup was set up by a steal by walk-on forward Christian Beyer, a reserve who had nine rebounds and was a strong defensive presence in the paint.

Virginia Tech (9-2) will play the winner of the Colorado State-Portland game that was played late Saturday night at the Orleans Arena.

"The way Christian played off the bench, I don't think we win without him," Virginia Tech first-year coach James Johnson said. "Erick may not have had his best game (Green had five of the Hokies' 24 turnovers), but he showed what being a captain is all about by being all over the place and getting in the ear of our guys at the end."

After Bradley's Walt Lemon Jr. missed two free throws with 11 seconds left, the Braves (8-3) regained possession when Green could not handle the rebound and the ball went out of bounds. Lemon's drive to the basket bounced off the rim with three seconds left. Robert Brown grabbed the rebound for Virginia Tech and dribbled out the clock.

Beyer's steal from Lemon on the inbounds pass set up Green's go-ahead shot. Lemon had 10 turnovers in the game.

"We didn't lose because of (Lemons)," Bradley second-year coach Geno Ford said. "We lost because we couldn't shoot the ball well in the paint in the second half.

"When you shoot only 5-of-17 in two-point shots, it's going to be difficult. We also had too many turnovers against their trap press in overtime (committing four of their 20)."

Green, the second-leading scorer in the nation at 24.8 points per game, has scored at least 20 points in the Hokies' 11 games this season. He also pulled down a career-high eight rebounds.

"I'm not happy with how I played at all, but as one of the captains of this team, I had to keep fighting," said Green, who persevered despite shooting 7-of-11 from the free-throw line and producing just two assists in 41 minutes.

Bradley, which has surpassed last year's win total of seven games with an 8-3 record, could not hold on to a 65-60 lead with 49 seconds remaining in overtime. Lemons' miscues and a missed free throw by Dyricus Simms-Edwards were part of Bradley's collapse.

Green, playing in front of eight NBA scouts, scored six points in an 8-0 run for Virginia Tech that gave the Hokies a 53-51 lead with 4:47 remaining in regulation. The Hokies had trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half.

Jordan Prosser made a layup with 4:33 remaining to tie the game at 53. Bradley did not score again until Lemon stole the ball from Green and made a layup with 9 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 55.

After a Virginia Tech timeout, Green missed a 10-foot jumper as time expired in regulation.

"When we got down in the first half, we didn't panic," Green said. "I think it says something about our defense and the way we can fight back. This kind of win is huge heading into the rest of the season."

Bradley was in command for most of the first half thanks to its 3-point shooting and Virginia Tech's turnover problems. The Braves built their biggest lead of the half -- 23-10 with 9:52 remaining -- after consecutive 3-pointers by Jalen Crawford and Will Egolf.

Egolf's 3-pointer culminated an 11-1 run, which included three of Virginia Tech's 15 first-half turnovers.

Green and power forward Cadarian Raines did not allow the game to get out of hand in the first half. Green had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, including both tries from 3-point range. Raines was 4 of 6 with all his shots in the paint and had 10 points at the half.

Raines, 6 feet 9 and 238 pounds, posted a career-high 16 points and tied Beyer (6-7, 200) for the team lead in rebounds with nine.

"Their inside guys were responsible for how we shot poorly," said Ford, whose team shot 36.5 percent from the field. "ACC teams have those big, strong post guys, like we saw with Virginia Tech. They were tough to handle."

NOTES: Virginia Tech has just seven scholarship players after freshman sixth man Marshall Wood (5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds a game) broke his foot last week against Georgia Southern. ... Bradley and Virginia Tech played common opponents Mississippi Valley State and Georgia Southern at home in the week heading into the bracketed portion of the tournament in Las Vegas. Both beat Mississippi Valley State easily but, while Bradley routed Georgia Southern 62-43, Virginia Tech lost to the Eagles 78-73.
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