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Manny Atkins has a big night vs. Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech seemed to received damning news when Dorenzo Hudson was deemed unable to play against Georgia Tech. And his untested replacement, Manny Atkins, didn't exactly inspire confidence.

Atkins had only averaged 2.9 minutes in Atlantic Coast Conference games. But the unproven freshman showed up in a big way in the Hokies' win over the Yellow Jackets.

Playing in front of a hometown crowd, Atkins made all the types of little basketball plays that make a difference. He was alert defensively, rebounded well and made smart decisions with the basketball. He scored 5 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in 39 minutes in his first career start.

"He was unbelievable," Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said. "He stayed within himself."

Atkins's performance was the type that has distinguished Virginia Tech this season. While Malcolm Delaney is a bona fide star, the Hokies have thrived thanks to a cast of role players who have stepped up in their moment. Atkins was the latest player to make his mark when given the opportunity.

Atkins also had the motivation from the crowd. A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Atkins had about 20 friends and family in the stands in Atlanta.

"I had a little pressure," Atkins said, "but at the same time, I was like, this is my home town. I’ve got a lot of people out here rooting for me. And I play basketball. That’s what I do. Once it got going, I was ready to play. This is probably the most comfortable environment for me to get my first start.”

By Mark Viera  |  March 8, 2010; 11:00 AM ET
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Manny stepped up in a big way at a critical time for VT. To be honest, when I heard about an hour before game time that Hudson wasn't going to play, I thought to myself "Well, that's it. We're screwed. No way we win down there now." But I should know by now never to count this team out, no matter what.

Posted by: danram | March 8, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

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