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Canes Hoops: Fast Start is Quickly Erased to End Regular Season

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Miami has only the ACC Tournament left to play for in light of disappointing season

NCAA Basketball: Miami-Florida at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018-19 regular season came to an anti-climatic finish for the Miami Hurricanes, squandering an early 16-8 lead in the first 5:43 of the contest, and falling 84-70 in Blacksburg to the Virginia Tech Hokies.

Miami (13-17, 5-13 ACC) ends a disappointing regular season while their opponents in Southern Virginia (22-7, 12-6 ACC) finish with their best record in 23 years.

The Canes were beaten in the major statistical categories, being outshot 49 to 46 percent, outshot from three-point range 54 to 20 percent, and out-rebounded 33-30.

Nobody on the UM bench recorded a point Friday. Having to rely on just five scorers for the duration of the game, Miami was behind the eight-ball from opening tip, even as four out of the five starters reached double-figures.

Chris Lykes and Ebuka Izundu finished with a team-high 16 points each. Lykes also recorded 9 assists, while Izundu was 8-8 on FG attempts.

Anthony Lawrence registered his sixth double-double of the season, and his fourth in five games with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

Zach Johnson scored 14 while shooting a team-best 2-3 on three-pointers. DJ Vasiljevic added nine points, but without a three-pointer, his third straight game with fewer than four three-pointers and his ninth out of his last ten games.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who had 25 points in the previous outing between the teams at the Watsco Center on January 30, scored a game-high 21 along with 10 rebounds for a double-double on Friday.

He was helped by teammates Ty Outlaw and Ahmed Hill, who scored 19 and 17 points. Hill was also 5-5 from beyond the arc.

After the early 16-8 start, Miami was outscored 37-15 in the rest of the first half, going into the locker room down 45-31 and leaving any hopes of spoiling the Hokies’ senior night dim.

And while both teams scored an even 39 second-half points, the damage had been done, and UM saw yet another conference game get away. The Hurricanes failed to win an ACC game on the road this year.

Depending on the results of Boston College’s game against North Carolina State, and Wake Forest’s against Florida State, the Hurricanes could be looking at anywhere between the 11th and the 13th seed in the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament next week in Charlotte, NC. Miami is locked into a Tuesday play-in game, with the opponent to be determined after Saturday’s games.