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J.T. Thompson plays key role for Virginia Tech

In Virginia Tech's 87-83 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday, Hokies forwards Jeff Allen and Victor Davila combined to play only 28 minutes because of foul trouble. And despite playing the jumbo-size Demon Deacons, the Hokies did not miss anything in its front court.

As he has done in recent weeks, J.T. Thompson played a big role for Virginia Tech. Thompson scored 16 points in 26 minutes, as he helped lead the Hokies down the stretch.

"J.T. Thompson is giving us just great, great minutes," Coach Seth Greenberg said. "He was so aggressive in attacking the defense."

Thompson's efforts are not always reflective of a pretty stat line. On Tuesday, he made hustle plays, including one to keep the ball in bounds near press row. But he complimented that with a 5-for-10 night shooting from the field.

Thompson (6 feet 6) was physically over-matched by a Wake Forest team that included starters Chas McFarland (7 feet) and Al-Farouq Aminu (6-9), in addition to Tony Woods (6-11) and David Weaver (6-11) coming off the bench. Yet he fought and scraped in the paint for his points, displaying the type of grit and heart that have come to define Virginia Tech's team.

Thompson hit a lull midway through the year. He felt like he wasn't contributing, and Greenberg essentially challenged him to step up. And since the fall, Thompson has not received the recognition of starters Allen or Davila.

But in recent weeks, Thompson has shown his value as Virginia Tech's sixth man. And he proved it again on Tuesday with a big performance in a huge game.

By Mark Viera  |  February 17, 2010; 1:20 PM ET
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