Photo Credit: ACC Media
Virginia Tech was a couple men down today with Tyrece Radford still suspended (but in Miami sitting on the bench) and Jalen Cone suffering an early injury that left him in a boot after 5 minutes of game time. Despite those challenges and a hungry Miami team looking to pull a big upset, the Hokies found a way in overtime to survive.
#16 Virginia Tech beat Miami 80-76 in overtime after Hunter Cattoor tied the game with a 3 at the end of regulation following an Isaiah Wong three with just under 3 seconds to go. Nahiem Alleyne had the go-ahead basket for the Hokies with Cattoor drawing a charge and making two free throws on the next two possessions to help seal the deal.
Tech improves to 14-4 overall including 8-3 in ACC play with the win while Miami falls to 7-11 including 3-10 in ACC play.
This was a roller coaster of a game that started and ended with really poor shooting, but saw both teams come alive offensively during the second half. However, Tech's defense and Miami's poor shooting in overtime made the biggest difference with the Hurricanes not making a single field goal in the extra 5 minutes.
Tech was the more efficient offensive team today shooting 47.6% from the field and 34.8% from three-point range compared to 41.4% and 30% respectively for Miami. That efficiency proved critical along with the strong ball movement for the Hokies with 25 assists and only 10 turnovers compared to 12 assists and 12 turnovers for Miami. Tech's bigs did a particularly good job of moving the basketball with Keve Aluma, Justyn Mutts, and David N'Guessan combing for 14 assists and only 4 turnovers.
Tech did have some areas of improvement from this game with only 15 free throw attempts (12-15) compared to 26 for Miami (22-26). Additionally, Tech didn't have a great rebounding game with Miami holding a 9-5 offensive rebound advantage that they turned into a 10-6 second chance point advantage.
Justyn Mutts was the lead star for Tech in this one with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals while shooting 9-14 from the field and 3-5 from the free-throw line. While Keve Aluma has been the more dominant big man in general recently, the Delaware transfer Mutts stepped up today and made some big shots in and around the rim.
Keve Aluma also continued to play well and build his ACC Player of the Year case with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists while playing an insane 43 minutes, a game high for all players. Hunter Cattoor made plenty of cutch plays from his buzzer-beating three to send the game to overtime to his late OT charge to help seal it, finishing this game with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks while shooting 4-8 from three-point range.
Joe Bamisile hasn't seen a lot of playing time as he's adjusted to the collegiate ranks and even less during ACC play but with Tyrece Radford suspended and Jalen Cone getting injured, Tech turned to Bamisile and he delivered. The true freshman from Richmond tied his career high with 11 points on 5-10 shooting while also having 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 0 turnovers in a career high 25 minutes (his previous was 11 minutes).
While Bamisile may not have been the most productive Hokie today, the growth that he showed is clear and if he is getting legitimately comfortable with the speed and increased talent at the collegiate ranks, Tech's ceiling made be about to grow because of him.
Nahiem Alleyne made the go-ahead shot in overtime to seal the deal on his way to being the fifth Hokie in double figures with 10 points on 4-6 shooting plus 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Wabissa Bede brought plenty to the table for Tech as well with 5 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 steal, and only 1 turnover while David N'Guessan was productive in 9 minutes with 2 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Miami was led by 19 points from Elijah Olaniyi and Isaiah Wong with the Hokies doing well to hold Miami's lead scorer Wong to only 4-12 shooting from the field though he did have 8 rebounds and 6 assists. Kameron McGusty also added 18 points while Nysier Brooks had a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double.
Miami may not be as good this year, but they continue to play teams tough so for the Hokies to get a win on a day where they weren't consistently at their best on either end of the floor was impressive. Most importantly, they dodged what would have been a bad loss and started pushing them more towards the 7 or 8 seed lines and away from the 4 and 5 seed lines.
Combine that with the heroics from Sam Latona for Virginia Tech Wrestling last night, and it's been a big weekend of fulfilling drama for Hokie fans whether it happened in Blacksburg or Miami.