Unique formula carries Virginia Tech past Florida State 71-59

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This was not how Virginia Tech figured to beat Florida State on Saturday.

With Malcolm Delaney going scoreless for 17 minutes? That's always been lethal for the Hokies.

With Seth Greenberg employing zone defense throughout? He'd never done so in 21 seasons as a head coach.

With forward Jeff Allen contributing team-high 24 points and 11 rebounds? Tech's most mercurial and maddening player in memory was nursing a tender groin that required pre-game painkillers.

Yet that was precisely the formula the Hokies used to forge a convincing and much-needed 71-59 victory over the Seminoles at Cassell Coliseum.

"We proved for one night we could compete at the ACC level," Greenberg said.

There was reason to doubt whether Tech could summon such a performance against the nation's top-ranked defense. Injuries have slashed the roster to eight scholarship players, none taller than 6-foot-8, and a three-game losing streak in early December discouraged coaches, players and fans.

But the Hokies (10-4, 1-1 ACC) seized control with a 12-0 run to end the first half and countered the Seminoles' inevitable second-half runs.

Allen deserves most of the credit.

He had 18 points and nine boards after intermission. He scored six points in a two-minute flurry that goosed Tech's lead from three back to 10.

And then came his defining moment.

With Florida State's best player, Chris Singleton, barreling toward the bucket and about to narrow the lead back to four, Allen drew a charging foul.

Taking a charge from the 6-9, 225-pound Singleton is dicey under any conditions. When your groin is hurting – try not to wince, guys – it's borderline insane.

"I told (reporters) yesterday I was going to fight through it," Allen said, "and that's what I did."

He did so much more. His 24 points are a season-high, his 10 made free throws a career-best.

"I thought Jeff Allen was absolutely a beast," Greenberg said.

And here's perhaps the most crucial number for Allen: two. As in two fouls, none after halftime. Critical for someone who's fouled out five times this season.

"As long as he can stay out of foul trouble," guard Erick Green said, "we're going to be good."

A sophomore starting in place of injured Dorenzo Hudson (foot), Green scored 12 points, his sixth consecutive game in double figures. Not coincidentally, Tech is 6-0 in that stretch.

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