Erick Green struggles in ACC swan song
It was an “emotional” end for Virginia Tech’s Erick Green, the ACC Player of the Year, whose 5-for-19 effort from the floor was a big factor in Virginia Tech’s 80-63 loss to North Carolina State in the first round of the 2013 ACC Tournament on Wednesday.
“It hurt, walking off with a loss,” said Green, who was held 10 points below his 25-point-per-game season average by a Wolfpack defense that keyed on him, particularly Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State’s point guard.
“I basically fed off the energy of my teammates. They did a great job of helping me on the screen and driving. They did a good job, just a good job tonight,” said Brown, who himself had nine points and 12 assists to fill up the stat sheet.
Virginia Tech limped to a last-place finish in the ACC regular season, but the Hokies had taken N.C. State to overtime in Raleigh, and having done so had the Pack’s attention.
“I felt like this was going to be our toughest game,” said Brown, whose fifth-seeded Wolfpack will face fourth seed Virginia on Friday in the ACC Quarterfinals.
Virginia won the only regular-season matchup between the two, 58-55, on Jan. 29 in Charlottesville.
Virginia Tech is done for the 2012-2013 campaign, which began with a hot 7-0 start and finished with 13 losses in its last 15 games.
“We worked too hard to go out like this,” Tech coach James Johnson said. “We just didn’t play well tonight, and N.C. State played well. But as far as not having Erick go out on top, we wanted to win the game, and Erick is a winner.”
Green addressed that in the postgame presser in response to a question about how he had been lightly recruited in high school and considered by some recruiting services as a reach as a scholarship player in the ACC.
“My message to everybody is work hard,” Green said. “I mean, no one ever thought I would be where I’m at today, and man, it can take you a long way. Hard work and dedication, it can take you a long way.”