GREENSBORO – The game did not start until 9:40 pm.
It was the second meeting between these teams in five days.
And despite a performance that was anything but sharp, the Miami Hurricanes got the job done, defeating Virginia Tech 59-49 to advance to the ACC quarterfinals and play Notre Dame Thursday night.
Head coach Jim Larrañaga said his team has played in a lot of games like Wednesday’s against Virginia Tech this season, where good defense was necessary for the Hurricanes to secure a win.
“What we’ve always told the team is, in order to win the games when you don’t shoot great, you have to play great defense. If you shoot lights out, you’ve still got to play good defense to win the game. But when you don’t shoot well, the defense is the answer,” he said. “I thought that was the key tonight. We played good defense.”
Miami limited the Hokies to 49 points on 21-52 shooting, while holding Jalen Hudson, who had 32 points the previous day against Wake Forest, to just five points on 2-7 shooting.
“He had a great game against Wake Forest, and I just wanted to make it tough for him,” said Sheldon McClellan, who tallied a game-high 16 points on the night. “As soon as the [Wake] game was over … I told coach I wanted to guard him before the game even started. So my mindset was just to start him, and my offense would come.”
McClellan scored 10 points in the first half and six in the second, none bigger than a three with 7:45 remaining to put Miami up three, moments after Virginia Tech had taken the lead.
Miami point guard Angel Rodriguez, who was listed as questionable heading into the game, scored five points on 1-4 shooting, through provided a nice burst of energy in the first half and helped facilitate the offense. Davon Reed was the only Hurricane other than McClellan with double figures; he had 10.
Miami now moves on to the quarterfinals for a rematch with Notre Dame. The Hurricanes played at Notre Dame earlier this season, at one point holding an 11-point lead in the second half before the Irish fought back.
Coverage will be at 9 p.m. Thursday on ESPN and WVUM.org.