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Hokies hoops waiting for supporting cast to step up

BLACKSBURG

Virginia Tech coach James Johnson had a familiar feeling as he watched his team lose another basketball game Thursday night.

It's the same sense of deja vu he gets when he watches "The Shawshank Redemption."

"Every time it's on, I watch it, and I see the same thing," he said after the Hokies' 60-55 home loss to Maryland. "I've seen it. Erick Green does what he does and we need other guys to step up. I've seen it. And we have a chance to win and we don't finish. I've seen it before."

Green scored 29 points, but again, did not get enough from his supporting cast.

Cadarian Raines did score in double figures for the third straight game, finishing with 14 points. But Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown each mustered just two points.

"Rob and Jarell, we can't have them having less than 10 points a game for us to be able to win," Green said. "If we're going to win a game, two guys can't just carry us.

"We need to mature a little bit. Who cares if you go 2 for 10? Make other plays - get steals, get rebounds, do something else other than just worry about scoring."

The Hokies (11-11, 2-7 ACC) will try to snap a five-game losing streak when Georgia Tech (12-9, 2-7), which lost to Virginia Tech in overtime last month, visits Cassell Coliseum at 1 p.m. today.

Green hopes to see an attitude adjustment from some of his teammates.

"Go out and have fun, play hard and just enjoy this," he said. "I don't know why guys are stressing, why guys are putting their head down. You only get to do this thing one time, so just enjoy it and play your heart out.

"Some guys are having bad nights and they're stressing. So what - you're going to have bad nights. You've got to get over that."

Brown is shooting just 23 percent from the field (28 of 121) in his past 13 games.

"He's got to try to play his way out of it," Johnson said. "The first (part)... of the season, he's shown that he can be a scorer - he can knock down shots. And even in practice, he's still showing that he can score the basketball. It's just not carrying over to the game."

With Tech down 56-53 to Maryland, Brown missed a layup with 34 seconds left. The Terrapins got the rebound and made two free throws.

"We ran a... play for him. That's the play coach designed," Green said. "We felt like Rob could get a good shot off... I feel like I should have the ball, but it's OK."

Johnson said the play was actually designed for Green, but the Terrapins foiled that.

"They did a good job on Green," Johnson said. "At times, especially late in the game, somebody else is going to have to step up. I'm going to probably go to Green and (foes) know it.

"They did a good job defensively on him and it left Brown open."

Johnson was left regretting the "point-blank" shots Brown and Eddie missed.

"Those guys are going to have to play well for us," Johnson said. "We're going to need more than one or two guys to beat (Georgia Tech)."

Posted to: College Basketball Sports

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