BLACKSBURG, Va. -- For the second time in five days, Virginia Tech turned away a Big South Conference opponent that rolled into Blacksburg on a winning streak. The Hokies, hobbled by injury, held off a second half push to beat Winthrop 81-63 in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Eagles. Tech picked up its third consecutive victory. Virginia Tech (6-3) earned the win without two of its top three scorers and with only two guards available to play. Guards Adam Smith (quad) and Ben Emelogu (concussion symptoms) were unavailable. Forward Jarell Eddie was more than willing to pick up the slack, though, scoring a career-high 32 points and grabbing seven rebounds to carry Tech to its sixth win. Eddie, who's scored in double figures in each game this season, was scorching hot from the opening whistle. The senior finished 12-for-17 from the field and shot 75 percent from three-point range. With 8:27 left to play, forward Joab Jerome's layup cut Virginia Tech's lead to 53-51. Led by Eddie and forward CJ Barksdale, the Hokies finished the game on a 29-12 run. Barksdale scored 13 points and added six rebounds. Guard Keon Johnson paced Winthrop with 15 points, but he didn't get much help from his supporting cast on the offensive end. Jerome finished with 13 points. The Hokies looked as if they might put the game away early, jumping out to a 13-5 lead behind a hot start from Joey Van Zegeren. The center tallied nine points, four rebounds and two blocks in the first half. Despite Tech's early run, Winthrop wasn't ready to roll over. After starting the game 2-for-9 from the floor, the Eagles rallied and ripped off a 12-4 run to take a 17-16 lead with 10:46 remaining before halftime. The Hokies heated up, however, and took a 42-33 advantage into the locker room. Tech shot 53.6 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point range in the opening half. Eddie lit up the Eagles for 20 first-half points. Eddie was 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, knocking down four 3-pointers. In the absence of guards Smith, Emelogu and Marquis Rankin, the 6-foot-8 inch Eddie was asked to spell freshman guard Devin Wilson at point guard. Shooting guard Will Johnston -- a former walk-on -- was the only other backcourt player available to coach James Johnson. Eight Eagles broke into the scoring column in the first half, led by Johnson, who scored seven points. Forward James Bourne and guard Keon Moore scored six points. NOTES: At 5-1 entering play Tuesday, Winthrop was off to its best start since beginning 8-1 record the 1980-81 season. The Eagles finished 19-2 that season. ... Tech's freshman captain, G Ben Emelogu, missed his third consecutive game with post-concussion symptoms. G Marquis Rankin was back on the sideline for Tech, but he still has not played a game in 2013 due to undisclosed personal reasons. ... Virginia Tech opens Atlantic Coast Conference play Sunday against Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. Winthrop is off until a Dec. 12 home game against Appalachian State.
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