GAME NOTES: Virginia Tech tries to snap out of a four-game slide tonight, as the Hokies pay a visit to the Maryland Terrapins for an ACC showdown at the Comcast Center.
The Hokies, who have won just one of seven true road dates this season and only one of 10 games away from home overall, are all alone at the bottom of the ACC standings with a record of 2-14. The team has won only once since the start of the new calendar year, taking down Miami back on Feb. 15 by a score of 52-45. More recently the team was defeated by nationally-ranked North Carolina on Saturday at home, 60-56.
Meanwhile the Terps are locked up in the middle of the pack in the ACC with seven wins in 16 opportunities, matching the record of NC State coming into the week. Maryland was taken to double-overtime on Sunday before bowing to Clemson on the road, 77-73. The loss was the second straight and the fourth in five games for the program.
Maryland demolished the Hokies on the road in the first meeting of the season just over a month ago, 80-60, which means the all-time series now shows a 31-10 advantage for the Terrapins. VaTech swept the season series in 2010-11, but has since dropped four in a row.
They gave a resurgent North Carolina squad all they could handle over the weekend, but in the end the Hokies came up short in the four-point decision at Cassell Coliseum. Jarell Eddie was responsible for 18 points and seven rebounds, but shot just 3-of-9 behind the 3-point line as the team finished 7- of-24 on the perimeter. Devin Wilson pitched in with 15 points and seven of the unit's 10 assists.
Offensively, the Hokies have struggled all season long with just 64.3 ppg, but at least they appear to give themselves a fighting chance with only 67.6 ppg allowed. Eddie, who is shooting a mere 35.9 percent from the floor, but 37.6 percent on the perimeter, leads the way with 13.4 ppg, but with Adam Smith (11.0 ppg) and Ben Emelogu (10.8 ppg) both out with injuries, Eddie is being left to shoulder much of the load on offense.
Maryland led by as many as nine points late in the first half versus the Tigers on the road two days ago, but the Terps saw that advantage turn into a 33-32 deficit at the break and an eventual four-point loss in double overtime. Seth Allen led the offense with 20 points, Evan Smotrycz pitched in with 19 and Dez Wells 16 points, while Charles Mitchell pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to held give the program a 63-47 advantage on the glass.
Thanks to the staggering effort on the glass against Clemson, the Terps are now averaging 38.2 rpg which is 4.2 rpg better than the competition. Oddly enough, Maryland doesn't have a single player pulling down even seven rebounds per game at the moment, but clearly that is a strong suit for the group as a whole. Wells is one of four players scoring in double figures with his 14.8 ppg and is also second on the unit with 63 assists as he tries to do all he can to get the squad into the win column.
With so many key players now watching from the bench, who could blame the Hokies for piling up the tallies in the loss column this season. Expect Tech to be headed there yet again tonight.
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