University of Miami basketball has struggled during conference play to put together a consistent second-half run to fend off opponents. Now, it has done it in back-to-back games.
After Virginia Tech climbed back from a second-half deficit to tie the game at 47 with 13:46 remaining, Miami bolted to an 18–2 run, giving life to the crowd at the Watsco Center and ultimately allowing the Hurricanes to defeat the Hokies 74-68.
“That was the difference in the ball game,” Hurricanes Coach Jim Larrañaga said. “It was tied and then all of a sudden, we had the lead. It was all due to getting stops.”
During the run, six different Canes hit shots while forcing the Hokies to commit five turnovers. Miami (16-7, 6-5 ACC) finished with four different players in double figures.
Senior co-captain Davon Reed led UM with 18 points and dished out a season-high six assists. Junior guard Ja’Quan Newton added 16 points, Anthony Lawrence had 12 off the bench and Kamari Murphy chipped in 10.
“It’s always a grudge match when we play them, no matter where it’s at,” Reed said. “I didn’t realize we were tied for eighth [in the ACC standings], but any win in the ACC, home or away, is a chance to advance in the league. It’s good to finally get two in a row after winning one, losing one, winning one.”
Miami went on a 9–0 run over the last 90 seconds of the first half. Back-to-back triples by Reed and Lawrence, followed by a three-point play for Newton gave the Canes a 40-34 advantage heading into the intermission.
Coming out of the break, Virginia Tech (16-7, 5-6 ACC) answered back. After the Hurricanes scored the first three points of the half, the Hokies went on a 13–4 run capped off by a three-point play by Ahmed Hill, leveling the game up at 47-47.
From there, Miami put the game out of reach and held on down the stretch.
Although the Canes allowed five different Hokies to score in double figures, UM prevailed by forcing 15 turnovers.
“We had too many mistakes, particularly in the second half,” Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams said. “A turnover against Miami is almost assured of a basket. A blocked shot by Miami is almost assured of a basket.”
The Canes improve to 11-2 at home this season. Up next, Miami travels to face No. 4 Louisville at 2 p.m. on Saturday.