BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Led by Erick Green's 23 points, Virginia Tech shook off a sluggish first half and finally pulled away from winless Mississippi Valley State for a 70-49 victory Monday night at Cassell Coliseum. Green, the nation's second-leading scorer, broke the 20-point mark for the ninth straight game, the first Virginia Tech player to do so since Bimbo Coles in the 1989-90 season. 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, finishing with 10 points. Davon Usher, who came off the bench for the first time this season, 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. The Delta Devils advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, but they returned just one player from a team that went 21-13. 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 Virginia Tech a 38-26 lead. Virginia Tech led by double digits the rest of the way. Rankin' three-point play with 10:33 left stretched the lead to 51-30. The Hokies jumped out to a 12-2 lead on a Green 3-pointer with 13:53 left in the first half. However, 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 giving the Delta Devils a 22-20 lead 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. NOTES: Monday's game was part of the 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 per game and started four games in which he appeared. ... Monday's game was Virginia Tech's first against a school from the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
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