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Greenberg: Duke win just a win, really

January 10, 2007 12:52 am

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Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg was thrilled Saturday after his Hokies upset No. 5 Duke. Monday, he was far more subdued about the win.

By TAFT COGHILL JR.
By TAFT COGHILL JR.

Virginia Tech's 69-67 overtime victory over then-No. 5 Duke on Saturday will likely go down as one of coach Seth Greenberg's most memorable wins with the Hokies.

But for right now, Greenberg is tired of discussing it.

"Quite honestly, I don't want to hear about Duke," Greenberg said on Monday. "I wish them the best. I hope they have a great season, but it's really [about] the next game. In this league, if you celebrate the past and don't prepare for the future, you don't have much of a future. It will suffocate you."

The Hokies (11-4, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) visit University of North Carolina-Greensboro tonight at 7:30 before taking on No. 1 ranked North Carolina (14-1, 1-0) on Saturday.

Greenberg said the win over Duke gave his team more confidence, "but it was just one game."

"There are no easy outs in this league," Greenberg said. "It's great that we had a great win on the road, but we've got to play the next one."

The challenge for Greenberg will be getting his team ready to play UNCG (7-8) tonight. He said the matchup could be considered a "trap" game because it falls after the Duke win and before the home game against North Carolina.

"Obviously playing Greensboro in between Carolina and Duke is probably not the brightest of scheduling," Greenberg said. "But it is what it is."

A 'freakish' athlete

Two of the more unforgettable plays in Virginia Tech's win over Duke were made by junior forward Deron Washington (11.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds).

Washington hurdled clear over the head of Duke point guard Greg Paulus late in the second half for a lay-up.

He then blocked Paulus' potential game-winning 3-pointer at the overtime buzzer.

The 6-foot-7 New Orleans native finished with 11 points, eight rebounds, four steals and a block. Greenberg said that's the type of effort he's expected from Washington all along.

"I tell Deron all the time that he's just another 6-7 athlete unless he plays with tremendous passion and commitment," Greenberg said. "We got that effort out of him. Now we've got to bottle that effort. That's what he needs to be held accountable for, but he's a freakish athlete."

Mays key to Tigers success

Clemson coach Oliver Purnell can credit plenty of things for his team's 17-0 start. The Tigers lead the ACC in offensive rebounding with 15.4 per game, and they're in the top five in the conference in 12 other statistical categories.

"We're not great at anything, but we're pretty good at most everything," Purnell said.

The Tigers start has been attributed to experience and cohesion, but James Mays (12.7 points per game, 7.4 rebounds) is the one individual who has been a key to most of Clemson's recent success.

The Tigers were off to an 11-0 start last season before Mays was declared academically ineligible. Clemson finished 19-13 and the campaign ended with a second-round NIT loss to Louisville.

Mays scored 16 points, including the game-winning lay-up in the Tigers' 75-74 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. Purnell said if the 6-foot-9, 222-pound junior was available all of last season, Clemson would've reached the NCAA tournament.

"I don't think there's any question about it," Purnell said. "Defensively, he's one of the best defenders I've ever been around. And offensively, he just gets better all the time."

Jackets lose some sting

When Georgia Tech (11-4, 0-2) hosts Duke (13-2, 0-1) tonight at 7 p.m., the Yellow Jackets will be without two key players.

Lewis Clinch, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound sophomore guard, was suspended for the rest of the season for an honor code violation; and 6-foot-9, 235-pound freshman forward Zach Peacock (6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds per game) was suspended for one game for an elbow he delivered to a Clemson player in the Yellow Jackets' loss on Saturday.

Coach Paul Hewitt said on Monday he expected the ACC to suspend Peacock. He said Clinch has the opportunity to return next season.

Clinch started 12 games and was the team's third leading scorer at 13.2 points per game.

"What happened to Lewis was an unfortunate situation," Hewitt said. "He's a terrific young man who should regain his eligibility. He'll be back next year."

Battered Hurricanes

Miami (8-8, 1-1) suffered one season-ending loss when reserve freshman forward Adrian Thomas was put down for the rest of the year because of a sports hernia.

But that's no comparison to the Hurricanes' most recent setback to one of their stalwarts.

Starting center Anthony King, a 6-foot-9 senior from Durham, N.C., has been lost for the season with ligament damage to his right wrist.

King was leading the ACC in rebounding at 9.3 per game before his injury. He also scored 7.9 points per game, but hasn't played since a 90-82 upset of Georgia Tech on Dec. 3.

Hurricanes coach Frank Haith hoped King could return for a stretch run, but the injury has failed to get better.

King hopes to return for a fifth season next year. He'll apply for a medical redshirt, although the eight games he played was two more than what the NCAA normally allows for a medical redshirt to be granted.

To reach TAFT COGHILL JR.: 540/374-5526
Email: tcoghill@freelancestar.com





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