Miami Rallies to Defeat Virginia Tech, 82-74
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team (15-7, 6-5 ACC) recorded its third halftime comeback of the season, defeating the Virginia Tech Hokies (13-9, 5-6 ACC), 82-74, at the Watsco Center.
Down nine at halftime, the Hurricanes shot 55 percent from the field and 95 percent (22-of-23) at the free throw line to record the come-from-behind victory.
“I thought the first five minutes, we played well,” head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We were 7-for-10 from the field and playing pretty good. And then we went 2-for-16 and played awful for about 10 minutes. We made some adjustments at halftime and our players really rose to the occasion and fought like crazy. They got us back in the game and then we finished strong.”
Five Hurricanes scored in double-figures paced by fourth-year junior Norchad Omier and freshman Kyshawn George who had 16 apiece. Junior Matthew Cleveland led the Hurricanes on the boards, hauling in 13 rebounds to go along with 15 points for his fifth double-double of the season.
The Hurricanes started the game off hot, connecting on seven of their first nine attempts to take an early 18-12 lead in the game. However, the Virginia Tech defense locked in and did not allow a Miami field goal for eight minutes. The Hokies put together an 16-3 run during that time to take a 35-26 lead at halftime.
The Hurricanes cut the Hokies’ lead to seven points on four occasions in the first five minutes of the second half, but Virginia Tech had a response every time to maintain a 10-point advantage midway through the frame.
Junior guard Bensley Joseph kept the Hurricanes in the game, scoring nine points in seven minutes to pull Miami to within four, 59-55, with 8:00 to play. The guard capped a 13-2 Miami run with a pull-up 3-pointer to put Miami ahead, 60-59, for the first time since the 4:41 mark in the first half.
Virginia Tech responded with six straight points, but the Hurricanes scored six points in less than 10 seconds thanks to a pair of steals and buckets from Omier and George. An alley-oop dunk by Cleveland put the Hurricanes up eight, 75-67, with just under a minute to play and then a 7-of-8 effort from the charity stripe in the final minute sealed the victory for Miami.
Miami heads to Charlottesville, Va., on Monday to take on the Virginia Cavaliers in John Paul Jones Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN.