Allen returns to Hokies' starting lineup
Forward Jeff Allen is Virginia Tech's second-best scoring option, behind guard Malcolm Delaney. But because of persisting foul troubles, he was limited to coming off the bench in the Hokies' first three games in December.
Allen returned to the starting lineup in Virginia Tech's 66-64 win over Penn State on Saturday. He scored 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. He had four fouls in 33 minutes.
Allen had a hand in perhaps the most important play of the game. With time running out, Penn State's Talor Battle drove into the lane and attempted a shot to tie the score. But there was J.T. Thompson, and Allen nearby, to contest the shot, which did not fall.
"Allen made a great play because Jeff Allen stayed with the basketball," Coach Seth Greenberg said, adding the Allen was not initially guarding the lane but as Battle crossed the floor, "Jeff stayed with the basketball and contested the shot."
Virginia Tech was able to take advantage of a Penn State team that is thin on depth and short on talent in the post.
The Nittany Lions' rely on Battle, a plucky guard, to provide almost all of their offensive production; he had 32 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists on Saturday. Penn State is missing forward Jamelle Cornley, who graduated last year after helping to lead it to a National Invitation Tournament championship.
With Penn State lacking bodies down low, Allen helped Virginia Tech outscore the Nittany Lions in the paint, 32-26.
Allen picked up three of his personal fouls after halftime. Unlike prior games, he was able to stay on the floor late into the night. He came onto the court with 3 minutes 30 seconds left in the game and played until the end. Although he did not score any points during that crucial stretch late when the game hung in the balance, he helped make a defensive play at the end to help seal an important win for Virginia Tech.
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