BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Jeff Allen estimated that he was playing at about 75 percent because of an injured groin.
But one might have a hard time convincing the Florida State Seminoles of that.
Allen scored 18 of his season-high 24 points in the second half to lift Virginia Tech past Florida State 71-59 on Saturday.
The Hokies (10-4, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their sixth straight game, broke open a close contest with a 12-0 run to end the first half and took a 29-19 lead at halftime. They never trailed again.
Allen, who also had 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, connected on 7 of 12 from the floor and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line. The scoring outburst marked his best game since a 25-point performance in the Hokies' double-overtime loss to Maryland last February.
``I was just going out there and playing hard,' Allen said. ``I tried to play through the groin injury. I just blocked it out because we needed this victory.'
``He really took us to the woodshed,' Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Allen. ``We had very little answer for him. We've normally been able to keep him in check. But today, he played with a tremendous amount of maturity and executed well. He was very patient in his game and that was one reason why they kept us at bay.'
Florida State (11-5, 1-1), which saw its three-game winning streak against the Hokies snapped, cut Virginia Tech's lead to 46-42 with 7:32 remaining on a 3-pointer by Luke Loucks, but the Hokies scored the next eight points. The Seminoles got no closer than eight points the rest of the game.
Virginia Tech, which is down to eight scholarship players because of injuries, played exclusively a 2-3 zone against the bigger, more athletic Seminoles and held Florida State to just 35.5-percent shooting from the floor (22 of 62).
The Hokies also forced 19 FSU turnovers.
Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, who usually has his teams play man-to-man defense, said it marked the first time as a coach that he had played 40 minutes of zone.
``I summoned my inner Jimmy Boeheim,' he joked, referring to Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, whose teams are noted for zone defense. ``We were active with our hands and closing out hard and guarding the ball.
``You've got to coach your team. We're going to coach this team and try to give them a chance, if they make plays, to win. That's what we've got to do. Each game is going to be different. We've got 1-3-1 zones, we've got box-and-ones, we've got triangle-and-twos ... we've got lots of things we've been working on. We've got to be creative to make sure we keep zero (Allen) out of foul trouble.'
Virginia Tech also made the most of its free-throw opportunities. The Hokies, who were shooting 67.8 percent from the free-throw line coming into the game, made 34 of 37. Malcolm Delaney and Erick Green combined to make all 15 of their attempts.
The Hokies got 13 points from Delaney and 12 from Green.
Chris Singleton paced Florida State with 22 points.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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