Coral Gables, FL – Virginia Tech could not overcome a bad first half, falling to Miami 82-75 in Coral Gables on Sunday afternoon. The loss drops the Hokies to 16-4 overall, with a 3-3 mark in ACC play. Miami is 16-5 overall and 2-5 in conference games.
A poor defensive first half doomed the Hokies. Miami took a 47-30 lead into halftime and had all the momentum following a 25-foot three-pointer by power forward Adrian Thomas to end the opening 20 minutes. The Canes, who had struggled shooting the ball in ACC play, were lights out against Tech in the first half.
Miami was 14-of-20 (70%) from the field in the first half, and 5-of-8 (62.5%) from three-point range. For the game, the Canes were 9-of-17 (52.9%) from the outside. Coming into Sunday’s game, they had shot well under 30% from three-point range in conference games. Miami hit some tough shots in the first half, but the Hokies didn’t help their cause. There were several occasions where Miami shooters were left open because the Hokies didn’t move fast enough off switches, or they didn’t recover from double teams.
The second half was much better, as the Hokies forced turnovers and scored in transition to get back in the game. However, they never cut the lead to fewer than five points.
Dorenzo Hudson led the Hokies with 22 points and six rebounds. He was 8-of-14 from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range, while playing all 40 minutes. Jeff Allen showed up on the offensive end in this game, scoring 19 points. Allen has scored in double figures in just two ACC games, both coming against Miami.
Malcolm Delaney added 16 points and 6 assists, but he had another bad shooting game from the outside. After going 0-of-6 from three-point range against Virginia, he was 0-of-5 against Miami. As a team the Hokies shot 47.2% from the field for the game, but were just 5-of-19 (26.3%) from the outside.
J.T. Thompson came up with a heroic effort in the second half, scoring all 14 of his points in the final 20 minutes to get his team back in the game. However, it was not to be, as Miami was able to hold on in the final minutes.
Tech jumped up 4-0 in the first half, but that was the only time they led in the entire game. As mentioned above, the Canes had a great shooting half and led by double figures late. The Hokies were still in the game late in the half when Jeff Allen hit two free throws to cut the lead to 44-30, but Miami came up with a huge shot before halftime.
Miami forward Adrian Thomas drained a three-pointer with a man in his face from beyond NBA range, continuing the streak of unlikely shots made against the Hokies at the buzzer. The Canes went into halftime leading 47-30, and they had all the momentum. Only three Tech players scored in the first half. Delaney, Hudson and Allen all had 10 points.
The Hokies played very hard in the second half, got their hands in passing lanes and forced turnovers. As a result, they were able to get back into the game. J.T. Thompson ran off five straight points in a 27 second span, and the lead was cut to 56-47 with 13:11 remaining in the game.
Less than six minutes later, the lead was cut to five points. A free throw by Thompson made the score 65-60 with 7:32 left. The Hokies later cut the lead to five on seven different occasions, though two were in final minute and the chances of a rally were very small.
The key play that stalled the comeback came with under two minutes remaining and the Hokies trailing 71-66. J.T. Thompson snagged the ball away from a driving Durand Scott under the basket with 1:27 remaining, and the Hokies had numbers down the court. However, before Thompson could pitch the ball ahead, Scott stole the ball right back and banked in an easy layup, making the score 73-66 Miami with 1:21 remaining. At that point it would have taken a small miracle for Tech to come back, and the Canes held on for the 82-75 win.
Virginia Tech will have a long week, then they’ll host North Carolina in Cassell Coliseum on Thursday night in what could be the swing game of the season. Tip-off is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by Raycom.