Just days after knocking off #1 Wake Forest on the road, Virginia Tech came up with another huge win away from home. This time they knocked off Miami 88-83 in overtime. The win puts Tech at 14-5 overall and 4-1 in the ACC. Miami drops to 14-5 overall, with a 3-3 record in conference play.
The win on Sunday night moves Virginia Tech into sole possession of second place in the ACC. The Hokies trail only Duke, who is 5-0 in the ACC. Wake Forest is the only other team with less than two losses, and they sit at 3-1 with a big game coming this week against the Blue Devils.
Virginia Tech trailed most of this game, but they got excellent production from their top three players, particularly down the stretch. Sophomore guard Malcolm Delaney finished with a career-high 29 points on 9-of-19 shooting. He outplayed Miami guard Jack McClinton, who is a Baltimore native like Delaney. McClinton scored 20 points, but he was just 6-of-21 from the field.
In his last two games against Tech, McClinton is just 10-of-38 from the field. Delaney and Hank Thorns did an excellent job contesting almost every shot he put up.
A.D. Vassallo added 28 points for Tech on 11-of-20 shooting. He was 4-of-8 from three-point range. Both Vassallo and Delaney played 43 minutes during the game.
Jeff Allen was the third Tech player in double figures. Allen finished with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting. He hit two clutch three-pointers, and also had four steals in 40 minutes of action.
Tech also had two role players make big contributions. Lewis Witcher came off the bench to score six points, all in the first half, including a putback off an offensive rebound as the buzzer sounded.
Hank Thorns played big minutes of the second game in a row. Thorns played 27 minutes because Miami, like Wake Forest, put big time pressure on the ball on the perimeter and the Hokies needed an extra ball hander. He only had two points, but he dished out a career-high eight assists.
This was a tight game throughout, with neither team able to lead by double figures at any point. Miami led by as many as seven points in the first half, and stretched their lead to five or six points on many occasions, but the Hokies were right there to make a run every time.
The Hurricanes took a 19-12 lead on a three-pointer by Jack McClinton with 11:24 left in the first half. Tech wasn’t playing well early, but they rallied down the stretch of the first half to make it a game at halftime. Lewis Witcher tipped in a missed Malcom Delaney jumper at the buzzer to cut the Miami lead to 37-36 at halftime.
The game was tight in the opening stages of the second half, but the Hurricanes managed to stay one step ahead of the Hokies. However, they could never extend their lead to more than five points. With 6:44 remaining, trailing 63-57, Malcolm Delaney and A.D. Vassallo started to take over.
Delaney hit a three-pointer to pull within three, and then Vassallo followed that up with back-to-back three-pointers from the left corner to give the Hokies a 66-63 lead with 5:33 remaining in the game. Tech’s two best players were stepping up in crunch time, and that turned out to be the difference in the game.
The Hokies looked to have the game won in regulation, but a deep three-pointer by Brian Asbury tied the game at 77 with 25 seconds remaining. Asbury came into the contest averaging 6.8 points per game, but he dropped 21 on the Hokies. Malcolm Delaney’s last second jumper was no good, and the game went into overtime.
Overtime didn’t start well for the Hokies, with Miami scoring the first four points and taking an 81-77 lead with 3:57 remaining. However, Virginia Tech was the tougher team down the stretch. With the shot clock winding down and with two defenders in his face, Malcolm Delaney drained a huge three-pointer from the right wing with 1:50 left in the game to make the score 84-83 Hokies.
At that point Tech’s defense took over, and Miami failed to score for the remainder of the game. A.D. Vassallo and Dorenzo Hudson finished the game out on the free throw line, and the Hokies went on to win 88-83.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Thursday night when they host #10 Clemson. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.