NCAA

VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

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VT's Johnson moving on minus Erick Green

Leading up to and after the NBA Draft, CSNwashington spoke with several of the local college basketball coaches for their take on certain prospects, but also to discuss the 2013-14 season. After catching up with Georgetown's John Thompson III and *George Mason's Paul Hewitt, today's Q&A is with Virginia Tech's James Johnson.  

Last month, Johnson, who is entering his second year as the Hokies head coach, shared his analysis on various ACC players in the draft. That included his now former high-scoring guard, Erick Green

  • How do you go about replacing a player like Green who led the country in scoring and produced in many different ways for the team last season?

James Johnson: "We have two seniors in Cadarian Raines and Jarell Eddie. They will make an impact. You're never going to replace a guy who led the nation in scoring, but I think we did a pretty good job of recruiting with the guys we have coming in. And I think we have some guys already in the program that will help.

"Hopefully Jarell Eddie can help, improve over the [past year] on the offensive end, help us put the ball in the hole. Raines, we'll be looking for him to help with the scoring load, up his (6.6) points per game average, maybe getting into double digits. Then we have a young man who sat out last year, Adam Smith, who transferred from UNC Wilmington. As a freshman, he had big games. UNC Wilmington played two ACC teams and he had big games, [23] against Maryland in one, 32 [against Wake Forest] in another. I don't know if we're looking for those types of numbers, but he's capable of producing those types of numbers in certain games.

"I think we'll be a little more balanced. C.J. Barksdale averaged I think 10 and 6 over his last 10 ACC games. We're looking at him stepping up. Marshall Wood, a freshman last year, broke his foot. We look forward to him helping us out. He can stretch the floor. He can shoot.

"Then we've got some incoming freshman, especially a couple of guards in particular, Malik Mueller, a 6-foot-3 guard out of Germany. A couple of years ago, he won the MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic. Then we have a kid, Ben Emelogu, who led his team to the state championship game down in Texas. Expecting him to shoot the ball and really put it in the hole. ...His high schools numbers don't really indicate what he can do as far as putting the ball in the basket. They were a very balanced team (several D-I prospects)."

  • How did you get a kid from Germany to come to Virginia Tech?

Johnson: "We watched [Mueller] on tape, at the Jordan Brand Classic. Kurt Kanaskie, my assistant, his son played overseas, in Germany for a while. Just connections, talking to people, looking under rocks. We've got to dig under rocks to find those kind of guys."

  • Granted it's a ways before fall practice, but o you have a sense of a starting lineup right now?

Johnson: "With six* freshmen and one transfer, the lineup is open. They have to compete for a position right now. That's the way I'm approaching it now."

* (now five without Clark)

  • Earlier when talking about the draft prospects, you mention liking the way Raines played against Maryland center Alex Len last season. Could he take another step and be a surprise in the conference next season?

Johnson: "I don't know about a surprise in the conference, but I think he can take a better step forward. Last year was his first as a starter, first year as being kind of a go-to guy inside. He had to kind of learn that role. I think he became comfortable with that and next year take it a step further.

"Eddie is [now] a senior who's had some big games, but we're looking for a little bit more consistency out of him."

VCU's upset bid falls short as No. 5 Dayton earns 15th straight win

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VCU's upset bid falls short as No. 5 Dayton earns 15th straight win

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Jalen Crutcher scored 18 points and No. 5 Dayton held off a late challenge and beat VCU 66-61 on Tuesday night, the Flyers' 15th consecutive victory.

Odi Toppin added 12 points and Trey Landers 11 for the Flyers (24-2, 13-0 Atlantic 10). They were the highest-ranked team ever to play on VCU's home floor.

VCU (17-9, 7-6) closed to within one possession several times in the last seven minutes, the last on Vince Williams' putback with 27 seconds left, but Dwayne Cohill made a pair of free throws with 22.4 seconds left and the Flyers held on.

Nah'Shon Hyland led VCU with 18 points and Marcus Santos-Silva had 12 points and 17 rebounds, but VCU lost for the fourth time in its last five games.

The Rams used an 8-1 run to get within 52-50 with 6:18 left, but Dayton converted six of eight free throws to rebuild the lead to 58-51. Malik Crowfield's 3-pointer and a free throw by De'Riante Jenkins pulled the Rams within 58-55, but Toppin scored inside and added a free throw.

BIG PICTURE

Dayton: The Flyers were shooting well about 50% for most of the game before a dry spell in the second half that included a pair of ill-advised 3-point tries by Crutcher and Landers. They finished 19 for 42, 45.2%.

VCU: The Rams played without point guard Marcus Evans, their top passer and No. 3 scorer. Evans aggravated a left knee injury in VCU's loss to Richmond last Saturday.

UP NEXT

The Flyers are at home against Duquesne on Saturday.

VCU is on the road at Saint Louis on Friday.

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No. 7 Maryland takes down Northwestern for 9th straight win

No. 7 Maryland takes down Northwestern for 9th straight win

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Jalen Smith had 22 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for his ninth consecutive double-double, and No. 7 Maryland extended its winning streak to nine games by defeating Northwestern 76-67 Tuesday night.

Smith achieved his 17th double-double of the season by halftime. In two games against Northwestern this season, the 6-foot-10 sophomore has 47 points and 30 rebounds.

Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 19 for the Terrapins (22-4, 12-3 Big Ten), who never trailed in improving their record at home to 15-0. The victory, combined with Penn State's loss to Illinois, left first-place Maryland with a two-game lead with five games to go.

Ryan Young scored 17 and Boo Buie added 15 for the Wildcats (6-19, 1-14) in their 10th successive defeat.

Down by 12 at halftime, Northwestern trailed only 50-46 with 10:45 left. It was 63-57 before a dunk by Smith, two free throws by Cowan and layup by Aaron Wiggins put the Terps up 69-57 with 3:23 remaining.

When the teams met at Northwestern a month ago, the Terrapins rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to win 77-66. This time, Maryland took charge at the outset.

Smith had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening seven minutes to stake the Terps to a 17-6 lead. After the Wildcats closed to 25-22, Darryl Morsell, Wiggins and Eric Ayala hit successive 3s and Cowan added a free throw for a 13-point cushion.

A late dunk by Smith made it 37-25 at halftime.

MOVING ON UP

Cowan passed Tom McMillen to move into eighth place on Maryland's career scoring list. Cowan, a senior guard, has 1,809 points and is 49 short of catching Lonny Baxter for seventh. The school record is 2,269 by Juan Dixon.

BIG PICTURE

Northwestern: The Wildcats can take solace in making a game of it on the road against a Top 10 team. But what Northwestern could use instead of a moral victory is a real one, a feat the Wildcats haven't accomplished since Jan. 11 against Nebraska.

Maryland: One week after squeezing past lowly Nebraska at home, the Terrapins left nothing to chance against an overmatched opponent. It wasn't a blowout, but the outcome was never really in doubt. Maryland now stands two wins away from a perfect season at home.

UP NEXT

Northwestern hosts Minnesota on Sunday, the rematch of a game the Wildcats lost 77-68 on Jan. 5.

Maryland faces No. 25 Ohio State on Sunday to begin a stretch in which the Terrapins play three of four on the road.

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