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January 13, 2014

Johnson Searching For FGs

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In two straight games, the overall shooting has been down for Virginia Tech. In losses to Syracuse and Boston College, the Hokies are shooting a combined 35.8 percent from the floor.

But Virginia Tech can also point specifically to second half stretches in both games in which they couldn't make a shot. Against both teams, the Hokies went over eight minutes without a field goal and against the Orange, it was without a point at all.

If Virginia Tech is to have any chance to win any games in the remainder of its schedule, the shots have to come from somewhere. Coach James Johnson is still searching for some answers, but he knows he needs some production from somewhere.

"We're offensively challenged right now and when you're offensively challenged and you struggle to put the ball in the hole, you cannot leave points out there, whether it be at the free throw line or missed layups and missed dunks," he said. "We left too many out there. Defensively, going back and looking at the tape again, limiting (Boston College) to 62 points, our defense did the job."

Injuries have also done the job in a negative way for the Hokies. Johnson said that while juniors Adam Smith and C.J. Barksdale are playing, they're still not fully healthy, while trying to overcome calf, ankle and knee injuries. Freshman forward Trevor Thompson also has a sore hip.

But Johnson's senior leader, forward Jarell Eddie, doesn't have injuries to blame for his woes. After scoring 34 points last month against Winthrop and 24 against Miami, Eddie has gone cold. He has 49 points in the five games since the win over the Hurricanes, but has shot just 26.7 percent in those games.

"He's just gotta come out of it," Johnson said. "As a senior, he's halfway through his senior year right now. We're getting down to where it's a couple of months left in the season. He's gotta try to get out of it, figure a way to get out of it. He's a focal point and teams are concentrating on him a little more, but he's just gotta try to shoot his way out of it. That doesn't mean take tough shots or bad shots, kinda let the game come to him."

Virginia Tech has one more game on its current home stand, against Clemson at 7 pm Wednesday, but if field goals don't come in a hurry, it will be tough for the Hokies to break out of their slide. The Tigers knocked off Duke 72-59 Saturday.

"We're gonna approach it the same way we've been approaching it, but obviously, our team knows our backs are against the wall a little bit," Johnson said. "We're trying to finish this homestand with a win and get back on the winning track here, but it's gonna be a difficult task against a very good defensive team."

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