BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green wasn't interested in making excuses for the Hokies' slow start Monday night against Mississippi Valley State. After a sluggish first half, the Hokies found enough life to whip the winless Delta Devils 70-49, but Tech's lone senior wasn't happy with how the game began for his team. "We didn't come with enthusiasm, energy or anything like that," said Green, who scored 23 points. He broke the 20-point mark for the ninth straight game, the first Hokie to do so since Bimbo Coles in 1989-90. "We came out flat, and they stayed in the game. ... It was just the energy. We're playing ball. It's supposed to be fun. Definitely for me, it's my last year. I want to take advantage of every game I've got." The Hokies (8-1) won despite off nights from two of their other leading scorers. Jarell Eddie, Tech's second-leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, finished with eight points, while Robert Brown (14.4 points per game) managed just four. Reserve Marquis Rankin was the only other Hokie in double figures, as he had 10 points. Davon Usher, who came off the bench for the first time this season because of a slight injury, led the Delta Devils (0-6) with 19 points. Darius Tomlin added 15. Mississippi Valley State, which has yet to play a home game this year, lost its sixth straight road game against a power-conference opponent, with every defeat coming by double digits. Mississippi Valley State advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, but it returned just one player from a team that went 21-13. "There are no smiley faces or no sad faces behind a win. A win is a win," Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. "When it goes down, it's not going to be a W with a U for ugly or a W with a P for pretty. We found a way to pull it out tonight." The Hokies, who suffered their first loss Saturday by a point at West Virginia, led by only six at halftime Monday. They finally broke the game open in the first five minutes of the second half. C.J. Barksdale's jumper with 15:56 left gave Tech a 38-26 lead. Tech led by double digits the rest of the way. Rankin's three-point play with 10:33 left stretched the advantage to 51-30. "Tough start," Johnson said. "A little bit of a hangover." The Hokies looked set to cruise early against the Delta Devils, taking a 12-2 lead on a Green 3-pointer with 13:53 left in the first half. But MVSU settled down after an awful shooting start and got back into the game. Usher scored nine points in a 2:19 span as the Delta Devils closed the gap. MVSU took the lead for the first time after a Virginia Tech turnover, with Matt Smith's dunk putting the Delta Devils on top 22-20 with 6:29 left in the half. The Hokies responded with a 10-0 run capped by a Green jumper to take a 30-22 lead with 2:10 left in the half. Tech didn't score again before halftime, though, and MVSU trailed by just six points at the break. "We could have folded the tents and threw the towel in," first-year MVSU coach Chico Potts said. "But we kept playing. We showed some resilience, some grit, some grind, some toughness. Those are things we can build on." The Hokies outrebounded the Devils 51-45 for the game and 34-21 in the second half. They held MVSU to 25.7 percent shooting and won despite having 10 assists and 15 turnovers. NOTES: Monday's game was part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic. MVSU will play at Bradley on Dec. 19 before facing Georgia Southern in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. The Hokies will host Georgia Southern on Saturday before playing Bradley in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. ... Nate Brandt, a transfer from Iowa Community College, left the MVSU team before the road trip to Virginia. Brandt averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in four games this season. ... Monday's game was Virginia Tech's first against a school from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
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