#23 Virginia Tech jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half, and held on in the second half for a 92-85 victory over the Miami Hurricanes in the BankUnited Center on Tuesday night. The Hokies improve to 15-5 overall and 5-1 in the ACC with the win, while Miami falls to 9-12 overall, and 2-5 in conference play.
Virginia Tech got great games from senior guard Zabian Dowdell and junior forward Deron Washington. Dowdell scored a career high 30 points. He was 7-of-10 from the field, 1-of-3 from three-point range, and 15-of-18 from the free throw line. Dowdell also had four steals, five assists, and did not turn the ball over.
Deron Washington was just one point from a career high with 23 points. He was 8-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. Washington also pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds, giving him his first double-double of the season.
A.D. Vassallo added 16 points off the bench for the Hokies. He was 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-7 from three point range in just 22 minutes.
The Hokies shot the lights out for the entire game. As a team, Tech was 25-of-43 from the field for 58.1%. They were 8-of-16 from three-point range. At one point during the first half, they were 6-of-7 from the outside. The Hokies were also 34-of-42 from the free throw line, good for 81%. They entered the game shooting 64.2% from the charity stripe.
Virginia Tech set the nets on fire with hot shooting early in the game, while the Hurricanes struggled. By the first media timeout, Tech had already hit three three-pointers to jump out to a quick 9-2 lead.
Not satisfied with the seven point lead, the Hokies kept pouring it on, scoring eight more points to jump out to a 17-4 lead with 12:28 left in the first half. Virginia Tech went on to dominate the first 14 minutes of the game, taking a 36-15 lead on two Zabian Dowdell free throws with 6:01 left in the first half.
Miami put a run on the Hokies in the last few minutes of the first half, out-scoring Tech 14-6 down the stretch. Hurricane guard Denis Clemente hit two three-pointers to end the half, making the score 42-29 heading into the halftime intermission.
Miami kept it going early in the second half. A running jumper by Jack McClinton with 18:09 left in the game made the score 44-35, the first time the lead was at single digits since the 10:43 mark of the first half when the score was 17-8.
The Hurricanes were very cold to start the game, shooting 37.5% in the first half. At one point they were 3-of-14 from the field. The second half was a different story. Miami was 51.4% in the second half, and also 17-of-19 from the free throw line.
Virginia Tech managed to keep Miami at bay for the majority of the second half. When Coleman Collins drained two free throws at the 9:08 mark, the Hokies led 66-53. However, Miami had one last run left in them. A 9-2 run capped by a three-pointer by McClinton with 7:11 remaining cut the lead to 68-62.
For just over three minutes after McClinton’s three-pointer, the teams went back and forth. The Hokies never led by more than eight during the stretch, while Miami never cut the lead any closer than six.
Finally a layup by McClinton with 3:39 left cut the lead to four points, 76-72. A jumper in the paint by Dowdell put the margin back to six, but McClinton responded with another layup to make the score 78-74 at the 2:47 mark.
That was as close as Miami got. Zabian Dowdell and Deron Washington combined to score 11 of Virginia Tech’s final 14 points. Washington had two critical three-point plays on back-to-back possessions down the stretch, scoring on a layup and drawing the foul each time. He was a 57% free-throw shooter heading into the game, but he connected on both attempts. The first came with 1:17 remaining, and the second at the 53 second mark, which put Tech up 88-79.
The Hurricanes missed three shots in a six second span in their final possession, and the Hokies were able to run out the clock, holding on for a big 92-85 victory.
The Hokies get a well-deserved break before heading south again on Sunday. Tech travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on January 28. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30, and the game will be televised by FSN.