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BLACKSBURG, Va. – First-year Virginia Tech coach James Johnson has a luxury, and a problem.
In Erick Green, the nation's leading scorer, he has one of the best players in the country. But he also has a roster of young players who seem more inclined to let Green do most of the Hokies' scoring.
Green had 30 points on Wednesday night for his third 30-point game of the season, but the senior guard nearly outscored the rest of his teammates in Virginia Tech's 73-64 loss to No. 14 Miami.
Green, like his coach, would love to see his teammates chip in more on offense.
"Robert Brown is coming along. He's been in a slump, but he's coming out of it," Green said of the shooting guard, who scored eight quick points against Miami, but no more despite playing 32 minutes. "Jarell Eddie can make plays. He can shoot the heck out of the ball. Cadarian Raines can make plays."
Eddie scored 14 on Wednesday, and Raines had 10.
The rest of the team? Two points on a second-half dunk by Joey van Zegeren, who started and was 1 for 5 from the field. Fellow starters Marquis Rankin (0 for 5) and C.J. Barksdale (0 for 4) went scoreless.
"We've got to get the other guys ... to step up and make plays," Green said.
Brown, who had missed 30 of 38 shots coming into the game, knows he's got to do more.
"Erick had a fantastic game, but we can't rely on him to win the game for us," he said. "One person can't do it. We just have to have everyone staying in the gym and working hard, and working hard in practice. Then we have to come out and make plays."
Miami made more plays Wednesday night.
Shane Larkin scored 25 points and the Hurricanes grabbed control with a 13-2 second-half run.
Kenny Kadji added 18 points and Trey McKinney-Jones had 12 for Miami (16-3, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which trailed by 12 in the first half before putting together a 22-6 burst spanning halftime.
Larkin had 11 points in the big run spanning the halves, and the Hurricanes held a 38-34 lead with 16:43 left. The Hokies seemed on the brink of getting run out of their own building, but Green hit three 3-pointers in a span of under 2 minutes and Virginia Tech led again, 43-41.
"When he's got the hot hand like that, we're going to ride him," Johnson said.
Just as Cassell Coliseum whipped into a roaring frenzy, McKinney-Jones hit a long 3-pointer, and Larkin and Rion Brown followed with 3s after a bucket by Raines for the Hokies. Two free throws by McKinney-Jones and a dunk by Kadji capped the 13-2 run that put Miami in position for the win.
The Hokies closed to 60-56 with two minutes left, but Larkin calmly dribbled the clock down and swished a long 3 from the top of the key with 1:47 to play.
Green and Brown each scored eight points during a 22-8 spurt that gave the Hokies a 28-16 lead with 5:57 left in the half, but a 3-pointer by Eddie and a free throw by Green was all Virginia Tech could manage the rest of the half.
Miami closed the first half with a 13-4 burst, including nine points from Larkin.
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