Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech 65-49 behind strong second half

We deserved that second half. The Hurricanes owed everyone who watched their 65-49 win over Virginia Tech Wednesday night that much after a miserable first half of the game.

The Canes trounced the Hokies 44-27 in the second half after ending the first half down 22-21. Miami found its shooting touch in the final 20 minutes, shooting 17-of-25 from the field. This was after going 7-of-23 from the field and committing seven turnovers in the first half.

Miami (21-4, 10-3) opened the second with three quick field goals to take a 27-22 lead less than two minutes in. Redshirt senior guard Sheldon McClellan put the Canes up by double digits with a pair of free throws at the 14:56 mark. The Hokies (13-13, 5-8) turned the ball five times in a little more than three minutes to start the half. Virginia Tech didn’t make a shot until the 12:44 mark, ending a nearly 11-minute stretch going back to the first half without a made field goal, but it was too late for the Hokies. They never threatened Miami the rest of the game.

Junior guard Davon Reed put the finishing touch on the Hokies with a breakaway dunk to put the Canes up 55-37 with 6:06 left to play. Reed ended the night with 12 points, two behind redshirt senior guard Angel Rodriguez’s game-high 14.

Four minutes and four seconds into the game, Miami had not scored a single point. A McClellan free throw at the 15:56 mark finally got the Canes on the board and allowed the 6,614 fans at the BUC to take a seat. Senior center Tonye Jekiri ended the team’s 0-of-6 start from the field with a layup 34 seconds later to give the Canes the lead.

McClellan, the team’s leading scorer coming into the game, took an early seat on the bench when he picked up his second foul with 12:14 left to play in the half. Already down sophomore guard Ja’Quan Newton who missed the game with an undisclosed medical condition, the Canes could not get their offense going. The team often went several minutes between each made field goal.

The Canes couldn’t afford to lose a Virginia Tech side that had lost six of its last seven games coming in. Miami, now tied for first in the ACC with North Carolina after the Tar Heels’ 74-73 loss to Duke, faces the other top four teams in the conference in a row starting on Saturday.

The Canes next play North Carolina at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Chapel Hill.