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Miami Basketball Spanks Virginia Tech; Win 76-52

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After a thrilling double OT win at Boston College, the 'Canes had a single day of rest before hosting Virginia Tech in a must-win game for Miami.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

If there is one word to describe Miami's play this season it would be: erratic. Which Miami team would show up tonight? The team capable of going to Duke and spanking the Blue Devils or the team that collapsed against FSU - or even the one that let Georgia Tech run them out of the BUC?

One could guess Coach Larranaga's pre-game speech went something like this:

Miami started off cold from beyond the arc. It's never a good sign when the 'Canes go cold from long distance as they are enamored with launching 3's. Fortunately, Sheldon McClellan and James Palmer were able to do some damage early while Virginia Tech came out firing.

Tonye Jekiri continued his torrid rebounding pace, snatching missed Virginia Tech shots and hitting the offensive glass. One of the few faults in Jekiri's game has been his lack of aggression around the hoop. Don't get me wrong, the junior center is the MVP of this squad, but he's been hesitant when receiving the ball near the basket. McClellan found him with a nice dish and the big man turned fluidly and dunked the basketball with two hands. Jekiri would convert on the same play later in the half. If the big man can incorporate in the paint aggressiveness into his game, he can be an absolute force.

For Virginia Tech, Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, was raining down threes early. Clearly, his strategy was to be economical with his shots. Miami needed to tighten down on the defense in order to avoid getting spanked like Maggie Gyllenhaal in the movie Secretary.

Miami took their first lead of the game when sensational sophomore Davon Reed converted on a whirling dervish in the lane.

Omar Sherman converted after a lose ball scrum as Reed found him for the deuce. If you haven't been paying attention this season, Reed is developing into a really solid 2-way player that can do a bit of everything.

In the latter stages of the half, Palmer nailed a 3-ball to give the 'Canes a 24-21 lead. Manu Lecomte nailed his 2nd bomb of the game, followed up by a McClellan fast break. But Justin Bibbs nailed a 3 just as time was running out to cut the Miami lead to 29-26 going into the locker room. One thing is certain, if the 'Canes could bring the same effort in the second frame, they would likely win the game.

Jekiri converted the first bucket of the second half and after a turnover, Palmer nailed a sweet 3 from the corner, forcing Buzz Williams to call a quick time out as the 'Canes looked to quickly build on their lead. Miami built a big lead early in the 2nd half and the big question was: Will there be a letup?

It looked like Tech was going to creep back into the game after two bad calls on one play got Coach Larranaga so angry, it looked like he was going to turn green and start killing the referees. LARRANAGA SMASH! It was also a five-point swing in favor of the Hokies.

After the technical foul shots, McClellan went to work. First, he drilled a three. Then he found Rodriguez and Jekiri for easy layups and the 'Canes were fired-up. McClellan wasn't done. He took a lob from Rodriguez and thundered it home and the 'Canes were up by 16. Jekiri continued his dunking rampage by Hulk smashing a missed Rodriguez lay-up.

Rodriguez, playing more under control, sliced through the Virginia Tech defense for a nice and-1 and the 'Canes were piling it on the Hokies . . . spanking them like a petulant child.

Takeaways:

-Tonye Jekiri is pretty awesome. This was perhaps the best game he's ever played. Incredible non-stop effort.

-Props to Angel Rodriguez. The shots haven't been falling and he's been looking to get his teammates more involved in the action.

- Great overall team effort. The squad played their guts out all evening and deserved to dole out a spanking to the Hokies.

- Coach Larranaga's technical foul was his first as coach of the Miami Hurricanes.

- Could this win be the start of a good run for the 'Canes? If they can play with the same intensity they had tonight, they can hang with just about anyone.

Game Metaphor Footage: Miami (James Spader) - Virginia Tech (Maggie Gyllenhaal) - if you're a masochist, I guess it would be the other way around. Use your own judgement when interpreting!

Virginia Tech Hokies
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Shane Henry, F 0-2 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 2 1
Malik Muller, G 2-5 0-3 1-1 0 2 2 1 0 0 4 0 5
Justin Bibbs, G 3-9 3-6 2-4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 11
Ahmed Hill, G 2-7 1-2 1-2 2 0 2 3 1 1 1 4 6
Adam Smith, G 5-9 3-5 2-3 0 2 2 0 1 1 2 1 15
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Christian Beyer, F 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0
Satchel Pierce, F 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 2 0
Jalen Hudson, G 0-3 0-2 1-2 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 2 1
Devin Wilson, G 3-5 0-1 5-6 1 3 4 2 1 1 1 2 11
Will Johnston, G 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 0 1 0 0 1 2
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
16-46 7-21 13-20 5 14 19 10 5 3 11 17 52
34.8% 33.3% 65.0%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Tonye Jekiri, C 6-7 0-0 3-4 7 8 15 2 1 2 1 1 15
Angel Rodriguez, G 3-8 1-5 4-5 1 2 3 4 3 0 2 4 11
Sheldon McClellan, G 7-10 2-3 5-6 0 3 3 3 1 1 1 0 21
Davon Reed, G 3-7 0-3 3-5 1 2 3 5 1 0 2 2 9
James Palmer, G 3-8 2-5 0-0 0 3 3 3 0 0 1 1 8
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Omar Sherman, F 2-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 1 0 1 2 1 4
Ivan Cruz Uceda, F 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Joe Thomas, F 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Deandre Burnett, G 0-3 0-2 2-2 1 0 1 2 0 0 2 1 2
Manu Lecomte, G 2-4 2-3 0-2 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 2 6
Mike Fernandez, G 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Ja'Quan Newton, G 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-51 7-22 17-24 13 27 40 21 6 4 12 13 76
51.0% 31.8% 70.8%

Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: VIRGINIA TECH (1), MIAMI (FL) (1)