No. 12 Virginia Tech Beats Miami 82-70

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Jan 31, 2019
With a 1-3 record in true road games that included a pair of 20-point losses, a loss at the Big 10's worst team Penn State, and a single 3-point win at Georgia Tech; questions were rightfully raised about Virginia Tech's road struggles. Add in the fact that Virginia Tech is loaded with experience and the Hokies' road struggles made even less sense. Tonight, the Hokies played to the level that most expected they ought to in true road games. No. 12 Virginia Tech beat Miami 82-70 in their best road performance of the season with VT owning a double-digit for all but the first 13 seconds of the second half. With the win, the Hokies improved to 17-3 on the season including 6-2 in ACC play while Miami fell to 9-11 including 1-7 in the ACC. The Hokies' offense has found its rhythm once again shooting an extremely efficient 58.8% from the field including 65.6% from inside the arc. That efficiency led to a 32-16 points in the paint advantage, something that is critical to the Hokies' offense given the emphasis on attacking the rim to create space on the outside. Both teams were forcing turnovers as the Hokies and Hurricanes each had 11 steals with VT having 15 turnovers and Miami having 16. However, Virginia Tech was able to take advantage of them with an impressive 22 points off turnovers compared to 8. That combined with the Hokies' dominance in the paint proved critical to getting a win in Coral Gables. After being featured as the high post facilitator against Syracuse, Nickeil Alexander-Walker shined back in his role as a primary scorer with 25 points on 11-17 shooting including 3-7 from three-point range. Alexander-Walker did it all in this game having an impressive 6 steals along with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 block in what was an impressive performance for the Canadian sophomore. Justin Robinson followed his 35-point, 8-assist career game against Syracuse with 17 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals in only 19 minutes of action. Unfortunately for the Hokies, those limited minutes were due to Robinson suffering an injury early in the second half. While Robinson did return to the bench, he did not return to the game with his status for Saturday's game at No. 23 NC State being unknown. Ahmed Hill continued his strong ACC start with 19 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and 6-6 shooting from the free-throw line along with 5 rebounds. With his performance tonight, Hill extended his double-digit scoring streak to six-straight games, the longest streak in ACC play of his career by 2 games. Kerry Blackshear struggled with foul trouble fouling out after only 17 minutes of action and only scoring a single point. However, Blackshear found other ways to make a difference with 9 rebounds (8 of which came in the first half) along with a pair of assists. Ty Outlaw was the fourth Hokie in double figures with 11 points and 3 rebounds on 3-5 shooting including 3-4 shooting from three-point range. Meanwhile, Wabissa Bede had 7 points and 2 assists while shooting a perfect 3-3 from the field. Isaiah Wilkins had a significant second half role with 2 points and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes, 12 of which came in the second half. Virginia Tech finally took care of business on the road as a veteran team should against a lower tier ACC team for their first double-digit victory in a true road game. While the Hokies were dominant after a 10-0 run in the first half blew the game open, the biggest question surrounds the status of Justin Robinson with the Hokies needing their star point guard to be healthy ahead of Saturday's showdown in Raleigh against No. 23 NC State. The health of Robinson could end up being the defining the headline on a night where the Hokies silenced some of the doubts about their road performances.

Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics

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