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Ga. Southern upsets Va. Tech 78-73 in men's hoops

BLACKSBURG

Georgia Southern couldn't beat Elon or Samford. In fact, the Eagles entered Saturday's game having beaten only one Division I opponent this season.

But, leading from the opening basket, they upset Virginia Tech 78-73 at Cassell Coliseum. It was their first win over a team from a major conference in 20 years.

"We're a little hurt," said Tech forward Jarell Eddie, who had 21 points but was 6 of 19 from the field. "We (weren't) expecting to lose that game at all, especially at home."

The Hokies (8-2) were upset by a Southern Conference squad for the first time since a 2002 loss to Wofford.

"The first thing I'm going to take from it is never underestimate your opponent," said point guard Erick Green, who had 28 points. "Just because we were (8-1) coming in here and thinking, 'They're 3-5,' I bet guys were probably like, 'We're going to win this game.'

"It hurts. When you don't play 40 minutes of basketball, that's what happens.

They just outplayed us."

The Eagles (4-5), who had been 0-5 against Tech, beat an ACC foe for the first time in their history.

"It's huge," said C.J. Reed, who had 22 points and five 3-pointers for Georgia Southern. "We competed for 40 minutes; we hadn't done that all this year."

Since upsetting then-No. 15 Oklahoma State this month, the Hokies have lost 2 of 3.

"They've got to learn how to play with kind of a target on their back," first-year coach James Johnson said. "You can't just show up."

The Hokies shot 39.7 percent from the field - 29 percent in the first half. They were 6 of 27 from 3-point range (22.2 percent), including 0 of 9 in the first half.

"We had wide-open looks," said Green, who was 0 of 4 from 3-point range, adding that

Tech is relying too much on the long-distance shot.

"We've got to start going to the basket. We've got to get to the basket, draw fouls, dump down."

Georgia Southern, which had been a poor rebounding team, edged Tech 41-38 on the glass.

The Eagles were 11 of 26 from 3-point range, including 7 of 14 in the first half.

"We don't take a lot of wild, transition 3s, but we get to the paint and got kick-outs, and that's why we shoot a very high percentage in 3s," coach Charlton Young said.

Cleon Roberts had 20 points and four 3-pointers for the Eagles.

Green, Eddie and C.J. Barksdale (10 points) combined for 23 baskets, but the rest of the Hokies combined for just four. Robert Brown, who was 2 of 9 from the field in Monday's win over Mississippi Valley State, was 1 of 7 Saturday. Johnson said he has the flu.

Center Cadarian Raines was scoreless in 12 minutes of play.

"We need them to step up," Green said of Brown and Raines. "We've got to get their heads right."

The Hokies trailed 35-27 at halftime, then fell behind 42-27 with 18:10 to go. Down 64-48 with 7:55 left, they dialed up the

defense to get back in the game. An Eddie 3-pointer cut the lead to 74-71 with 54.3 seconds remaining.

But Green missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with 23 seconds left.

"Coach told me to shoot the 3," Green said. "I thought, honestly, it was in. A lesson learned - next time, go to the basket."

A moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of the victims of Friday's shootings in Newtown, Conn.

Posted to: College Basketball Sports

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