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Posted at 6:04 PM ET, 01/28/2011

Delaney, Green hope for bounce back performances vs. Miami

By Mark Giannotto

Sophomore Erick Green made just 3 of his 15 shots during Tuesday night's loss at Georgia Tech, so as soon as he finished class Wednesday, he made his way to Virginia Tech's practice facility on campus around lunchtime. He wanted to get some shots up and rid himself of the bad taste left from his worst showing since becoming a starter for the Hokies last month.

According to Green, though, his backcourt mate Malcolm Delaney did him one better. After Yellow Jackets junior Iman Shumpert recorded a triple-double and forced Delaney into a eight-point, eight-turnover performance, the senior from Baltimore went to work immediately after the team returned to campus around three in the morning.

"Right after he got off the bus -- middle of the night -- he went straight to the gym," Green said Friday. "He does take it personal, and that’s the good thing about him. If he has a bad night, you’re not gonna see it happen again the next game.”

Both Delaney and Green will need to be on top of their games Sunday when talented Miami guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott come to Blacksburg. That duo has become topic number one during the Virginia Tech's film sessions in recent days, especially since it was Scott who scored 11 points in the final six minutes of Virginia Tech's ACC tournament quarterfinal loss a year ago. The defeat likely kept the Hokies out of the NCAA tournament.

But before Coach Seth Greenberg turns his attention to Scott and Grant -- a transfer from Villanova who is averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game and shooting nearly 44 percent from three-point range -- he's focused on correcting what went wrong the final six minutes of Tuesday night's loss.

The Hokies self-destructed down the stretch of their 72-57 loss to the Yellow Jackets, committing six turnovers and failing to score a field goal in the last 6:06 of the game. Greenberg called it "hard to watch" and "so out of our character, I kind of put it to rest -- not that it wasn't disappointing."

But it was Delaney and Green who accounted for all six of those giveaways, and the duo shot a combined 2 of 14 from the floor during the second half. As a whole, the Hokies had just six field goals and shot 24 percent from the field after halftime. Greenberg, though, seemed particularly troubled by how Delaney reacted that night.

"He’s got to eliminate all the ancillary stuff," Greenberg said Friday. "He’s just got to play ball. Let his game do his talking for him. He can’t get caught up. People are going to try to take him out of his game, like they try to take [Duke's] Nolan Smith out of his game, like they try to take [Boston College's] Reggie Johnson out of his game. When you’re a good player, people are going to try and disrupt you and if you allow them to do that, they win.”

When asked to elaborate on that, Greenberg mentioned Delaney "feels that people are being physical." Unfortunately, Delaney wasn't made available to reporters Friday, but if this season is any indication, he could be due for a big game Sunday. After going 2 for 18 against Purdue in the beginning of December, Delaney rebounded with a 26-point performance against Virginia the next time he took the floor.

As for Green, neither he nor Greenberg were upset about his shot selection even though he missed 12 shots. Greenberg said he thought Green could have easily been 14 for 15, and made it a point to pull him aside on the team bus afterwards to emphasize Green should "continue to take those and I want you to take them. It’s just one of those nights.’

For Delaney and Green, though, another night like Tuesday would probably mean another Virginia Tech loss. That's something Green seems acutely aware of.

“I don't want to have another off night like that," Green said. "I just think it wasn’t our night. We were getting looks, we just weren’t hitting. I think it was our mentality. We’ve gotta have a better mentality coming into this next game. ... “Lately, we’ve always been coming out hot, like we’ve always got a good lead to start. Then we let the team get right back in it. We can’t let that happen. Once we get up, we need to stay up."

By Mark Giannotto  | January 28, 2011; 6:04 PM ET
 
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