Blacksburg, VA — Make it two in a row for the Hokies. That is, two “moral” victories in a row. In reality, Virginia Tech has lost three straight games following Wednesday night’s 73-64 loss to 14th-ranked Miami.
It was a valiant effort and the Hokies certainly gave the Hurricanes, winners of eight straight, all they could handle, but it wasn’t enough. Miami overcame a 12-point first-half deficit to beat the Hokies 73-64.
Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green, who leads the nation in scoring, was virtually unstoppable, despite frequent double teams. The Winchester Rifleman, as he’s known, scored 30 points to lead all scorers. He also hit a career-high five three-pointers.
Surprisingly, Green didn’t have to carry the entire load in the first half. Jarell Eddie and Robert Brown each scored eight points in the first 20 minutes to help the Hokies take a 12-point lead.
The second half? Not so much. Green scored 16 of the Hokies’ 32 second-half points. Brown was shut out and Eddie didn’t score a second-half field goal until he hit a three-pointer with :33 left. He did hit three free throws with 2:14 remaining to cut Miami’s lead to 60-56. Eddie finished with 14 points.
Cadarian Raines, who has struggled to put points on the board this season, added six points in the second half and had 10 for the game. Brown finished with eight and Joey van Zegeren was the only other player to score; he had two points.
Coming into the game, the Hokies could not afford a slow start like the one that cost them a loss to Clemson on Sunday. Thursday night, at home against the Canes, Tech got off to fantastic start with Green and Eddie hitting back-to-back three pointers.
The hot start got the home crowd into the game early and helped push Virginia Tech to a surprising 12-point lead, 28-16, with just under six minutes to play in the first half.
But miami’s NBA-sized front court and lightning quick backcourt shook off the unexpectedly good start by the Hokies and used an 18-3 run to cut VT’s lead to three at the half, 32-29.
The Hokies hung with the Miami for the first nine minutes of the second half, but the Canes went on a 10-0 run midway through the second to surge past the tired Hokies and take a 9-point lead. That was the ball game.
Miami’s sophomore guard Shane Larkin, son of former Major League Baseball player Barry Larkin, scored 25 points, more than double his average and a new career-high in an ACC play. He also hit a career-high five three-pointers against the Hokies.
Green (30) and Eddie (14) combined for 44 of the Hokies’ 64 points. The other three starters combined for 2 points; van Zegeren had 2, while C.J. Barksdale and Marquis Rankin were both shut out.