Photo Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics/Matt Gentry-Roanoke Times (Pool Photographer)
When Virginia Tech jumped in the top 25 earlier this season, they lost their next game against power conference opposition. Tonight, they took care of business as a ranked team against a Miami team without a couple key players to stay undefeated in ACC play.
#24 Virginia Tech beat Miami to improve to 8-1 on the season including 2-0 in ACC play while the Hurricanes fell to 4-3 including 0-2 in ACC play. This sets up a big top 25 matchup this Saturday in Charlottesville between the Hokies and #23 Virginia with bragging rights, a move up the rankings, and the chance to send a message across the conference on the line.
This was a back-and-forth game for much of the first half but a 12-3 Virginia Tech run to end the first half (which grew into a 26-9 run) helped the Hokies gain control and hold a double-digit lead for much of the second half. However, Miami clawed their way back in this game from down as much as 17 to within 2 points inside the final 45 seconds. Despite that, Tech did enough to hold on though their late game struggles showed plenty of room to grow.
Offensive rebounding and second chance points were key for the Hokies as they held an 8-5 advantage on the offensive glass, turning that into an 11-5 second chance points advantage. Tech also only had 11 turnovers compared to 19 for Miami but they failed to take advantage with the Hurricanes outscoring VT 19-10 in points off turnovers.
Keve Aluma had a huge first half with 19 points to propel himself to a career high 26 points plus 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks as the transfer from Wofford continues to emerge as one of the best bigs in the ACC. Aluma was dominant and efficient in the post all night going 9-16 from the field while also getting to the line plenty and taking advantage at 7-10 from there.
Justyn Mutts had a strong performance as well having 15 points on 5-11 shooting including 3-5 from three plus 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
Meanwhile, Tyrece Radford also played well with 13 points on 6-9 shooting plus 9 rebounds while Jalen Cone also was in double figures with 12 points on 5-10 shooting including 2-7 from three. Wabissa Bede may have only had 4 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals, but his last steal right after a missed free throw sealed the game for the Hokies.
We will have more as this story develops.