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Hokies roll over Furman

The SportsXchange

BLACKSBURG, VA -- 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 the Cassell Coliseum.

Forward Jarell Eddie scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to guide Virginia Tech (4-3) to its fourth win of the season in Blacksburg. Eddie, who also posted his second double-double of the season, scored in double figures in each of the Hokies' six games this 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 players scored in double figures, six players scored at least nine points, and seven broke into the scoring column to provide the Hokies 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 three pointers to pace Virginia Tech off the bench. 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 Virginia Tech freshman since Dell Curry did it in 1982.

After an abysmal first half, Furman tried to make it 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 Virginia Tech lead to 46-35.

Virginia Tech's length and three-shooting would prove to be too much, though, as Furman couldn't keep pace with the Hokies deeper bench and up-tempo attack the rest of the way.

Sophomore guard Stephen Croone was the lone bright spot for Furman (2-3). Croone scored 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Croone accounted for every free throw, block and assist that the Paladins tallied on the evening.

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 on the offensive end 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 after 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 played much worse, shooting 20.8 percent from the field in the first half. The Paladins also turned the ball over nine times, and just three players broke into the scoring column.

"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. 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. Eddie scored 23 points on top-ranked Michigan State on Friday and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Seton Hall on Saturday.

NOTES: Hokies G Ben Emelogu did not dress for the game due to flu-like symptoms. The freshman 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 cross-county rival Radford on Friday. Furman heads home to host Brevard on Saturday.
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