Virginia Tech got off to a terrible start in the first half, rallied in the second half, but ultimately it wasn’t enough in a 71-61 defeat to Miami on the road on Tuesday night. The Hokies dropped to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in the ACC, while the Hurricanes improved to 11-9 overall and 3-7 in league play.
The game got off to a fast start, with neither team playing much defense. A three-pointer by Tech’s PJ Horne tied the game at 17 with 11:54 remaining in the first half, but that’s when the wheels fell off temporarily for the Hokies. Miami embarked on a massive 24-2 run capped by a Rodney Miller layup that made the score 41-19 with just 4:04 left in the opening half. The Hurricanes carried a 44-25 lead into the halftime intermission.
Miami managed to jump out to the big lead despite being without leading scorer Chris Lykes.
“I just thought they were a lot quicker than we were,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said. “You give up 44 points [in the first half] … my team’s been pretty darn good throughout defensively, and you give up 44 points. They just drove us and came off dribble handoffs hot and we were to it and flying. Our connectivity was poor, certainly, even without [Chris] Lykes, they have some kids that can score the ball. It was disappointing and they clearly outplayed us the first [20 minutes].”
Virginia Tech put together a much better performance in the second half, outscoring Miami 36-27. They managed to cut the lead to just four points with 1:01 to play. Following a missed free throw by the Hurricanes after Landers Nolley cut the lead to 63-59, Tech got the ball back with just under a minute to play in a very manageable situation. However, Wabissa Bede and Nolley didn’t connect with a pass and Miami came away with a turnover. The Hurricanes hit their free throws down the stretch and walked away 71-61 winners.
“I just think we should have played the first half like we finished the second half,” Tyrece Radford said. “If we would have done that, the game would have been a lot different. But with us not doing that, it kicked us in the butt at the end.”
Not that Radford was a reason for the loss. The redshirt freshman scored 24 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and had three steals. He was instrumental in Virginia Tech’s second half comeback. For the game he was 10-of-13 from the field and had just one turnover, while the rest of the team was just 14-of-46 from the field with 11 turnovers.
Landers Nolley added 14 points for Tech, but was just 6-of-15 from the field. Wabissa Bede racked up eight assists, but committed an uncharacteristic six turnovers.
Next up for the Hokies is a home game with No. 5 Florida State this Saturday in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 4pm, and the game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.
Game Notes from Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
- Virginia Tech falls to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in ACC play.
- Miami snaps Tech’s three-game winning streak over the Hurricanes. The Hokies won three straight against the Hurricanes in the 2018-2019 season, including the 71-56 win in the ACC Tournament.
- Mike Young is 0-2 against the Canes and 1-2 versus Jim Larranaga.
- This is the Hokies’ first loss in Coral Gables since 2017-2018 when they were defeated 69-68.
- Miami leads the all-time series 23-17.
- UP NEXT: Tech will return to Blacksburg for a matchup with No. ⅚ Florida State on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET at Cassell Coliseum.
- Virginia Tech started a lineup of Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, Landers Nolley, P.J. Horne, and Nahiem Alleyne, marking the third straight game the Hokies have gone with a different five to start the game.
- Miami outscored Tech 36-24 in points in the paint and outrebounded the Hokies 36-31.
- Tech tied its season high in steals with 11 (Wake Forest, Jan. 14) and forced Miami to commit 16 turnovers.
- Tech’s bench was outscored 10-9. This is just the third time this season the Hokies bench has not reached double-figures.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: With 11:34 to go in the first, the Hurricanes Rodney Miller scored an old-fashioned three-point play followed by a triple from the ‘Canes’ Kameron Mcgusty, which would spark and be a part of a 24-2 run giving Miami a 41-19 lead. Tech ended the first half on a 6-3 run and Miami went into the break leading 44-25.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: With just under nine minutes to go in the game, guard Tyrece Radford scored back-to-back transition buckets to cut into the deficit and make the score 54-43 with Miami on top. Looking for a comeback, with just over one minute to go, redshirt freshman Landers Nolley drilled a floater and then finished a layup to make the score 63-59 with Miami leading. Miami held on late to win 71-61.
- Tyrece Radford registered a career-high 24 points and led Tech in scoring for the first time this season. Radford also collected three steals, which is his second-most of the season (4, Wake Forest 1/14/20).
- Landers Nolley’s 14 points marks his 19th game scoring in double figures and ninth consecutive outing reaching double digits in points. Nolley also recorded five rebounds, marking his 16th game this season with five or more boards.
- PJ Horne hit two 3s against the Hurricanes, which is his second-highest 3-point total in ACC games for the season and his most in a game since he hit three against Duke on Dec. 6.
- Wabissa Bede dished out eight assists against Miami, marking his 19th game leading Tech in assists. This is also Bede’s seventh game with eight or more assists.