After winning their opening game of the ACC Tournament, the Virginia Tech Hokies faced a tough-tasking trying to beat the #11 Miami Hurricanes for the second time in less than a week with tired legs. Buzz Williams and the Hokies put together a valiant effort, but the better, more experienced team with fresher legs won the game.
The Hokies were only down by 1 at halftime but an early second half run by Miami was too much as the Hokies cut that lead to an extent but fell to the Hurricanes 88-82. The Hokies will now have to wait till Sunday to find out there postseason future which is almost certainly going to be in the NIT somewhere from the 3 to 5 seed most likely.
The Hokies were successful on the glass outrebounding Miami 28-23 including a 7-3 advantage against the Hurricanes in offensive rebounds. However, the Hokies’ tired legs had a big effect on the defensive end as the Hurricanes were able to get plenty of good shots and took advantage shooting 56.6% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech also had some issues with turnovers losing the turnover battle 14-10, which may have also been hurt by the fatigue the Hokies brought with them into this game.
At the end of the day, the more experienced team with fresh legs won and that shows in the stats. However, the Hokies put together a valiant effort with a few players having some good nights.
Seth Allen was able to consistently attack the rim and find ways to draw fouls leading to a 31-point game including making an ACC-tying record 17 free-throw on 18 attempts along with going 7-of-14 from the field. Allen has started to get in rhythm over the last few weeks on the offensive end and will definitely be ready to shine in the NIT should the Hokies be in it as most expect at this point.
Zach LeDay had a nightmare of a first half with 2 turnovers and 2 fouls, but the junior forward found a way to get involved in the second with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting plus 3 rebounds. LeDay may have not had a great night, but the junior forward will be ready to leave his mark on whatever tournament the Hokies will play in next and there is no reason to expect him to have another half without a point or rebound.
Jalen Hudson had one of his best games all season against the Hurricanes as one of the few Hokies will slightly fresher legs after playing less than 20 minutes against Florida State as the sophomore had 12 points and 7 rebounds. Hudson was aggressive in the first half on the offensive end and that is exactly what the Hokies need him to continue doing going forward as Hudson is someone that could make the Hokies a lot better if he can become more consistent.
Justin Robinson was in foul trouble throughout the night and fouled out with 9 points, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 1 rebound in what was a solid game for the freshman point guard. Kerry Blackshear had a decent night with 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists as the freshman big man continues to show that he has a bright future while freshman forward Chris Clarke had 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist.
Justin Bibbs struggled to get open shots and made his only three-pointer of the night on his way to only having 5 points and 3 rebounds in what was a quiet night for Bibbs. Devin Wilson had a solid defensive night while having 2 assists and 1 rebound while Shane Henry started his final ACC Tournament game and had 2 points and 2 rebounds.
The Hokies now are almost certainly headed to the NIT, but Buzz Williams and Virginia Tech are ready to be a very dangerous team that definitely has the potential to be a sleeper to make it to Madison Square Garden and win the NIT. What is definitely known is that the future of Virginia Tech basketball is bright, and that the Hokies have deeper ACC Tournament runs coming very soon.