Career day for Anthony Lawrence II leads Miami past Virginia Tech

Junior forward Anthony Lawrence II dribbles through traffic in an 89-55 Miami victory over Navy Nov. 12 at the Watsco Center. Lawrence finished with 10 points and seven rebounds. Photo credit: Josh White

Led by a career game from junior forward Anthony Lawrence II, the University of Miami gutted out a 84-75 win against Virginia Tech Feb. 3 in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Lawrence led the Hurricanes (17-5, 6-4 ACC) with a career-high 25 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for his second-straight double-double, despite battling an illness.

“I don’t know if he ever did throw up,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We didn’t start him in the second half because of that. I guess we’re going to have to try to get him sick the next time out, too.”

Lawrence went nine of 10 from the field and knocked down all three of his three-pointers. Sophomore DJ Vasiljevic and freshman Lonnie Walker IV added 14 points apiece. Senior Ja’Quan Newton had 12 points and four assists in his second-straight game off the bench.

Virginia Tech (16-7, 5-5 ACC) guard Justin Robinson scored 22 points for the Hokies.

The Hokies finished with three players in double figures, including senior guard Justin Bibbs and freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively.

The loss ended Virginia Tech’s three-game winning streak in ACC play.

“It’s harder to handle success than to handle failure,” Robinson said. “It’s something we’re going to learn from.”

In the team’s second game without sophomore guard Bruce Brown, who is out until at least mid-March with a foot injury, the Canes came together to make up for the loss of their star.

All nine players who entered the game registered points.

Virginia Tech came out aggressive in the second half and went on an early 8-0 run, eventually cutting the lead to seven with 7:33 left. After back-and-forth play, the Hokies cut it to a 66-63 game.

It was once again Walker’s show down the stretch as he hit a contested three-pointer to bring the lead back up to six points coming out of a timeout with 3:51 left to play. After a layup from Robinson, Walker sank a difficult midrange jump shot to keep a two-possession lead.

“He only had four or six points until there was about three minutes left in the game,” Larrañaga said of Walker. “Then he took over. He ended very strong.”

Miami went on an early 13-0 run and led by as many as 16 points in the first half. Miami’s defense held Virginia Tech to just 35 percent shooting from the field in the opening stretch. The Hurricanes shot 71 percent from the field and 66 percent from beyond the arc.

The Canes went into halftime leading 44-32.

The game ended fittingly as Lawrence made a driving layup with 1:40 left to keep the lead at six points, and the Canes closed the game from there at the free-throw line.

Miami looks to keep its momentum going when it hosts Wake Forest 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Watsco Center.

Virginia Tech next plays at home against North Carolina State 9 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Cassell Coliseum.