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After ejection, Jeff Allen steps up for Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech forward Jeff Allen has been involved with a handful of notable on-the-court incidents, from his bump of an official in a loss at Georgia Tech as a freshman to his middle-finger salute to Maryland fans after fouling out of a loss in College Park last season.

But since his latest scrape, when he was ejected for elbowing a Virginia player on Jan. 28 in a Hokies' win there, Allen has turned around his season for the better.

Allen is one of the most gifted players on Virginia Tech's roster but has played inconsistently, a theme that was on display through the first half of the season. But in the three games since Allen's ejection in Charlottesville, Allen has been one of the Hokies' most consistent and dangerous players.

That continued on Saturday, when Allen scored 13 points and added 6 rebounds and 4 steals in a win over Clemson. He scored 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in a win over North Carolina on Feb. 4 and had 19 points and 3 steals in a loss at Miami on Jan. 30.

In the win over the Tigers, Allen had a pivotal sequence in the second half when he took over the game. He scored five consecutive points in an 8-2 spurt to help the Hokies nudge to a 10-point lead.

In that stretch, Allen had a steal, which he converted into an and-one layup that gave the Hokies a 49-41 lead. Utilizing his quickness and long arms, Allen has become adept at forcing turnovers, although Coach Seth Greenberg sometimes cautions about that getting Allen into foul trouble.

“If it’s a steal that I really think I can get, I reach for it,“ Allen said. “His main thing with me was, if I can’t get it, don’t go for it."

Asked about Allen's ability to steal the ball, Greenberg said, “It’s sometimes feast or famine, but today we’re eating well.“

When the talented Allen is playing well it can make a huge difference for Virginia Tech, adding another scoring dimension to an offense led by Malcolm Delaney and Dorenzo Hudson and making the Hokies' interior defense that much more difficult to navigate. In the next few weeks, Virginia Tech will need Allen to keep up his superb play since being ejected.

The Hokies (18-4, 5-3) play at North Carolina State (14-10, 2-7) on Wednesday night. They host Virginia (14-7, 5-3) on Saturday in an in-state rivalry game that has more meaning because they are two of the conference's top teams.

By Mark Viera  |  February 8, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
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