BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Jarell Eddie scored a career-high 34 points and Virginia Tech outlasted Winthrop 81-63 Tuesday night.
Eddie scored 20 points in the first half, including 17 straight for the Hokies (6-3) in one stretch, and Virginia finally pulled away with a 20-7 run to open a 70-56 lead with 5 minutes remaining.Freshman Keon Johnson scored 15 points to lead the Eagles (5-2) and Joab Jerome had 13.The game was close throughout until the Hokies' second-half burst which came after the Eagles closed to within 50-49 on a 3-pointer by Josh Davenport, quieting the sparse crowd at Cassell Coliseum.Devin Wilson started the run with a free throw and C.J. Barksdale hit an 18-footer. After Jeroma scored for Winthrop, Eddie hit a runner, then a 12-foot turnaround. He later added his second four-point play of the night as he finished 13 for 18 from the field, 6 for 8 on 3-pointers and added seven rebounds.His previous career high of 28 points was set last season at U.N.C-Greensboro.Eddie's hot night was critical for the Hokies, who shot 60.4 percent (29-48) but also turned the ball over 18 times. The sloppy play allowed the Eagles to stay close even after going scoreless for nearly 4:30 in one stretch of the second half. It was late in the Eagles' scoring drought that the Hokies took command.Virginia Tech led 42-33 at halftime.Winthrop, small and quick, used a 14-3 burst to take a 19-16 lead midway through the half.Eddie then led a 21-7 spurt in which he scored the first 14 points. When he went to the bench for a rest, Cadarian Raines made a pair of free throws in his first appearance in two games, and Will Johnston, who has missed badly twice, made a deep 3-pointer.The Hokies played without Marquis Rankin, who hasn't played yet this season for what coach James Johnson calls "a personal matter," and without freshman captain Ben Emelogu because of a concussion.---Follow Hank on twitter at: http://twitter.com/hankkurzjr