The Miami Hurricanes shot 52.7 percent from the floor and got scoring from some unlikely sources to beat the Hokies 79-71 in a Big East game in front of 3,020 fans at Cassell Coliseum.
The Hurricanes improved to 11-15(4-11 Big East), and are now tied with the Hokies for last place in the Eastern Division. However, Miami owns the tiebreaker over Tech by virtue of its two wins over the Hokies this season. The loss dropped Tech to 11-17 on the season, and they are 4-11 in the Big East. A Miami victory over St. John’s Saturday night at the Convocation Center, or a Hokies loss to West Virginia puts the ‘Canes in the Big East Tournament.
Tech never led in this one and trailed by 10 twice in the second half before tying the game both times on 10-0 runs. The Hokies tied the game at 63 the final time when Dixon converted a three-point play with 3:37 left in the game.
The ‘Canes, though, regained the lead when Eric Wilkins connected on arguably Miami’s biggest basket of the season. Wilkins, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard, hit a fade away jumper with less than five seconds on the shot clock to give Miami a 65-63 lead.
That started an 11-1 run as Miami built its lead back to 10 and never looked back. The ‘Canes hit 10-of-12 from the free-throw line in the final 1:09 to seal their second road win and first Big East road win of the season.
“I thought that shot was huge,” Miami coach Perry Clark said. “I felt if they ever got the lead, then it would be like a runaway horse and we’d never catch them.
James Jones led Miami with a game-high 21 points and Darius Rice – who sat out Miami’s game against BC this past weekend with an injury to his shooting hand – scored 10 on 3-of-10 from the floor after scoring 32 against Tech in the first meeting. But the two guys who killed Tech were guards Armondo Surratt and Wilkins.
Wilkins, who had been in double figures just twice all season and came into the game averaging 3.8 points per game, scored a career-high 19 points and made 7-of-9 from the floor. Surratt, who came into the game averaging 6.2 points per game, scored 15 points and dished out eight assists.
-Courtesy of the Virginia Tech Sports Information Department