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Thompson has another strong effort

Virginia Tech needs J.T. Thompson to step up. And after his breakout performance on Thursday in a win at Virginia, the Hokies are starting to see the Thompson they need.

Following up a 17-point performance in Charlottesville, Thompson scored 14 points, all in the second half, in Virginia Tech's 82-75 loss Sunday in Coral Gables. He was one of the bright spots of an ugly defeat that leaves the Hokies needing to re-gain ground in the wild Atlantic Coast Conference.

After coming off the bench, Thompson helped ignite Virginia Tech in the second half. The Hokies went on an 11-1 run that reduced Miami's lead to single digits, 56-47, with 13 minutes 11 second remaining in the game.

Thompson, a 6-foot-6 forward, is athletic and versatile and has provided a spark for the Hokies. But this season, he has not been as productive as he or his coaches would like.

At Virginia, though, Thompson played like a man possessed. He scored 15 of his 17 points after the Hokies' best forward, Jeff Allen, was ejected for elbowing a Cavaliers player with 13:41 left in regulation.

Thompson continued that performance to Sunday. In his 23 minutes on the floor, he attacked the rim and showed alert play on the defense end, grabbing two steals. Another positive development was his free-throw shooting, which has been inconsistent. He made 6 of 8 free throws on Sunday.

Virginia Tech (16-4, 3-3 ACC) hosts North Carolina (13-8, 2-4) on Thursday night in Cassell Coliseum.

By Mark Viera  |  February 1, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
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