The Miami Hurricanes have struggled playing away from the BankUnited Center this year. But for the first time this season, the Hurricanes get a win on the road, defeating Virginia Tech, 74-71 and ending a three-game skid.
The victory for the Canes (16-7, 3-6 ACC) was their first ACC road win since Jan. 10, 2007 against then-No.25 Maryland.
Jack McClinton elevated his game in the second half, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the second half including clutch shots in key moments.
“I think Jack got loose in the second half,” said Head Coach Frank Haith. “In the second half we had better movement. We were more patient.”
Miami took the ball right at Virginia Tech (14-10, 5-5 ACC), getting to the free throw and finishing the game 21-25 from the charity strip. The Hokies only made it to the line 12 times, making eight.
Despite getting the win, the Hurricanes didn’t start the game off strong.
Miami’s shooting woes from the Florida State game carried over for in the opening half.
The Canes didn’t get their first field goal until four minutes into the game. The drought put the Hurricanes into an early hole but they fought back and took the lead at the half, 28-26. Miami shot 33 percent and was 1-for-8 from the three-point line.
The Hokies cut the lead to 50-47 but McClinton made a three-pointer. Moments later, freshman Eddie Rios and McClinton sparked the Canes with back-to-back three pointers.
Down the stretch, Miami held steady and didn’t allow Virginia Tech to rally back.
Late free throws kept Miami’s lead in hand. The Hokies did have a shot to tie the game in the final seconds but couldn’t get off a clean shot.
In the second half, the Canes shot 58 percent from the field and made six three pointers.
The contribution from the bench was huge for the Canes, outscoring Virginia Tech 29 to 5.
Rios kept a rhythm the whole game, scoring a career high with 14 points, including three three-pointers. Rios has only scored in double figures in just two games this season.
“Eddie has been coming [along],” Haith said of his freshman, who put up 14 points. “He’s been getting better and better in practice and more and more confident. I said to staff after the game, ‘That looks like some of the games I used to see Eddie play in high school.’ ”
Junior Brian Asbury added 10 points and senior Anthony King had 11 rebounds. The ACC’s leading free thrower, McClinton, missed his first free throw of the ACC season, ending his streak at 25.
McClinton was pleased how his team performances.
“We played hard for 40 minutes today,” McClinton said. “We needed it.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at email@example.com.