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No. 5 Miami tops Virginia Tech 76-58
Virginia Tech standout guard Erick Green, the nation’s leading scorer, was held to 16 points, only the third time this season he has failed to reach 20.
Miami's Shane Larkin (left) tries to steal the ball from Virginia Tech's Erick Green during their Wednesday night game in Coral Gables, Fla.
Miami's Tonye Jekiri (23) defends against Virginia Tech's C.J. Barksdale (42) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Coral Gables, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.
Virginia Tech's Marquis Rankin,right, is fouled by Miami's Durand Scott (1) during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Miami. Miami won 76-58.
Miami's Shane Larkin, left, passes the ball against Virginia Tech's Joey van Zegeren (2) during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Miami. Miami won 76-58.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — An hour before tipoff, several Miami Hurricanes stretching on the court craned their necks toward the scoreboard to watch a few of this season’s video highlights. Then they made some more.
Shane Larkin scored 22 points and played smothering defense on Erick Green to help the Hurricanes bounce back from a loss and beat Virginia Tech 76-58 Wednesday night.
Despite a slow start, Miami (23-4, 14-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed and improved to 13-0 at home. The Hurricanes hold a 2½-game edge over second-place Duke in the ACC and can clinch their first conference basketball championship by beating the Blue Devils on Saturday.
“It’s just another game on the schedule,” Larkin said before he and his teammates dissolved in laughter that acknowledged the comment as nonsense.
“It’s going to be a blast,” guard Trey McKinney Jones said. “We beat them here this year, and we beat them there last year, so they’re going to be gunning for our heads.”
Miami shook a 10-day scoring slump just in time for Duke. The Hurricanes were coming off a loss at Wake Forest that ended their 14-game winning streak and their bid to go unbeaten in the ACC, and they went 11 minutes without a basket early against Virginia Tech before pulling away.
“A lot of people wanted to see how we would respond to a loss,” Larkin said. “I think we came out and imposed our will.”
Virginia Tech (12-16, 3-12) fell deeper into last place in the league. Green, the nation’s leading scorer at 25.2 points per game, took a painful spill in the first half and scored only 16 — just the third time this season he has been held below 20.
The Hurricanes had averaged only 54.7 points over their past three games and again sputtered at the outset, but led 15-14 despite committing five consecutive turnovers and missing seven straight shots.
The Hokies were having trouble scoring, too.
“We weren’t able to capitalize on the offensive end,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said, “and they’re too good of a team to hold down for long periods of time. We needed to take advantage of the opportunity we had.”
Then the onslaught began against Tech, an 18-point underdog.
Larkin led the way, and not only because of his defense. On consecutive possessions early in the second half, the point guard hit a one-handed runner, sank a 3-pointer and fed Durand Scott for a fast-break layup and a 49-28 lead.
“We had no answer for him,” Johnson said. “He’s the key to that team.”
Kenny Kadji had 20 points, six rebounds and two blocks, while Jones added 11 points and three steals. Scott, a senior, was held out of the starting lineup for disciplinary reasons. He missed the first four minutes and scored nine points.
Larkin shot 8-for-12 and had six assists.
“Shane had a terrific all-around game,” coach Jim Larranaga said.
The Hurricanes made 50 percent and went 8-for-21 beyond the arc. They also made 22 of 30 free throws and won a league home game by at least 18 points for the fifth time this season.
Green gave the Hokies a scare when he hurt his left side losing the ball and falling in the first half. He went to the bench grimacing was back in the game a minute later.
Green shot 6-for-13, including just one 3-pointer, and had three turnovers.
“They did a really good job on him,” Johnson said. “They trapped him off ball screens, sent two guys at him and did a really good job.”
VIRGINIA TECH (12-16)
Raines 2-6 0-0 4, Barksdale 6-9 0-0 12, Rankin 1-5 2-2 5, Green 6-13 3-4 16, Johnston 0-1 0-1 0, Brown 3-8 5-6 12, Van Zegeren 1-2 0-0 2, Beyer 1-2 0-0 2, Eddie 1-6 3-6 5, Wood 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-53 13-19 58.
Kadji 6-10 5-6 20, Gamble 1-2 0-2 2, Larkin 8-12 3-4 22, McKinney Jones 4-8 2-2 11, Brown 1-4 0-0 3, Scott 2-7 5-6 9, Akpejiori 0-0 0-0 0, Swoope 0-0 0-0 0, Jekiri 0-0 4-6 4, Johnson 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 23-46 22-30 76.
Halftime—Miami 38-19. 3-Point Goals—Virginia Tech 3-16 (Rankin 1-3, Brown 1-3, Green 1-4, Johnston 0-1, Wood 0-1, Beyer 0-1, Eddie 0-3), Miami 8-21 (Larkin 3-5, Kadji 3-6, Brown 1-3, McKinney Jones 1-5, Scott 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia Tech 30 (Barksdale 7), Miami 31 (Johnson 8). Assists—Virginia Tech 8 (Green 4), Miami 11 (Larkin 6). Total Fouls—Virginia Tech 21, Miami 19. A—7,434.
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