Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
ACC Road games are never easy. Tonight was no exception.
Virginia Tech came out firing. Miami looked to be in serious danger of their first loss in ACC play. But Shane Larkin, Kenny Kadji, and Trey McKinney Jones made big plays when they needed most, as UM subdued Erick Green and the pesky Hokies 73-64 in Blacksburg.
Kadji wasted no time hitting a three to open the scoring. But Jarrell Eddie answered right back from deep. In fact, both teams started out hot, and despite consecutive blocks on Marquis Rankin by Larkin, the Hokies jumped to a 10-8 lead. The early pace was to VT's advantage, fast and furious. UM looked to be on their heels as Tech jumped out to a 24-14 lead behind Green and Robert Brown. Brown and Eddie both started out 3-3 for 8 points each and Green hit several contested jumpers as well. Miami was finally able to slow the pace, and Shane Larkin hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the lead to 3 despite the Hokies' hot start. The Hurricanes actually had a chance to tie the game, but a sloppy possession by the 'Canes closed the half with Miami trailing 32-29.
Green and Larkin led all scorers with 12 a piece at the half.
2 big blocks by Julian Gamble and a layup by Larkin got Miami off to a good start in the second stanza. Durand Scott then gave the 'Canes their first lead since early in the 1st half with a transition bucket 3 minutes in. Larkin and Green continued to trade bucket after bucket as neither team gave much ground in the first 10 minutes. Miami finally gained some traction behind some excellent defense. Reggie Johnson struggled on the offensive end but really cleaned the glass up nicely. A triple from Rion Brown, as well as one by Trey McKinney Jones, proceeded a dunk from Kadji to swell the lead to 9 with 8 minutes to go. Kadji really came to life down the stretch as Tech fought back. UM was not exactly sharp against the Hokies zone, but made enough buckets to back up their stifling second half defense. Eddie's three free throws cut the lead to 4 with 2 minutes to go, but Larkin answered right back again with his 5th three pointer of the night. From there the 'Canes held on, as VT ran out of rallies.
Pundits warned that Miami would face opposing team's best punches after the Duke rout. Tonight the 'Canes faced just such a challenge, and came out victorious nonetheless. This is the sign of a very good team.
Larkin finished with 25 points, Kadji added 18, and McKinney Jones 12. Green, the ACC's leading scorer, exploded for 30.
Player of the Game: Larkin. Miami really needed his clutch shooting, especially in the first half.
The Good: Winning on the road in the ACC is always a good thing.
The Bad: Things were a bit sloppy offensively in the first half. Give VT credit though.
The Ugly: Far too many offensive rebounds for the Hokies mediocre front line early. UM did however clean things up in the second half.
Next Game:UM hits the road to take on NC State in Raleigh, Saturday 2/2 at 4PM EST on CBS.
|Trey McKinney Jones||4-9||2-5||2-2||0||3||4||1||12|
|Joey Van Zegeren||1-5||0-0||0-0||2||6||0||3||2|
- Technical Fouls:
- Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA