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January 27, 2014

Looking For A Positive

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With a depleted roster, it's gotten to the point where having a key player at just over half of his regular self is still a plus.

It seems coach James Johnson can't win for losing. Aside from the six games in a row Virginia Tech has lost, Johnson still can't field a healthy team.

He got one player back for Saturday's loss at Virginia, though he's far from healthy. Now, Johnson might again be without a pair of key contributors for Wednesday's game at Boston College. It's nothing new for Johnson, but it certainly doesn't make life easier when he and the Hokies are simply trying to at least get a notch in the winning column.

"A win would be the thing that would spark a lot of things around here," Johnson said. "We definitely need a win. As competitive as these guys are and how hard they're working, we need a win."

Freshman forward Ben Emelogu returned from an ankle injury at Virginia, but after sitting out the previous two games, he wasn't quite back to full form. Still, Johnson was glad to have a body back that can play.

"He's good enough to play where he can spare some minutes, but I would say he was probably about 60 percent," he said. "For a guy that hadn't practiced in two days, three days and hadn't played in the two games before, he looked like it. He didn't play well, he was just a little rusty. I think he shot a couple of air balls and that's not him."

For the third game in a row, junior guard Adam Smith is expected to miss with a strained left calf. But now, Virginia Tech might be without junior forward C.J. Barksdale, who suffered a strained groin against the Cavaliers.

"He came to the huddle one time during a timeout and I saw him squinting, in his eyes," Johnson said. "But I thought that might be a knee or ankle, one of the things he's already fighting through. Obviously, that hurts us if he can't play. He's a guy who's starting to play well, starting to shoot the basketball well and get us some scoring."

With eight losses in their past nine games, Johnson is looking for any kind of positive. Unfortunately, unless the Hokies can gut out a win, there just aren't many to talk about.







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