Virginia Tech pulls away from Miami 63-49 to reach ACC semifinals
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney scored 15 points apiece and Virginia Tech continued its late-season surge with a 63-49 win over Miami on Friday in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Deron Washington shook off a slow start to add 14 points and 12 rebounds for the fourth-seeded Hokies (19-12), who kept their NCAA tournament hopes alive and earned a date with top-ranked North Carolina in Saturday’s semifinals.
Virginia Tech, coming in without a signature win to impress the NCAA committee, pulled away in the second half with a smothering defense against the fifth-seeded Hurricanes (22-10), who believe they’ve already locked up a spot in the NCAA field.
Miami, which beat North Carolina State in Thursday’s first-round, went more than 7 1/2 minutes without a field goal in Virginia Tech’s decisive run and couldn’t overcome a second straight subpar game from its top scorer.
Jack McClinton scored 16 points, but was only 4-of-17 from the field and 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
Unlike on Thursday when McClinton was held to eight points but got help from his teammates, no other player scored in double figures for the Hurricanes.
Delaney, who was 4 of 5 from 3-point range, buried a 3 with 8:36 left that put Virginia Tech ahead in the sixth and final lead change of the second half. He hit another 3 two minutes later, part of an 18-2 run spurt that gave Virginia Tech a 59-44 lead.
The Hokies, who won for the fifth time in six games, held Miami to 32 percent shooting and forced 17 turnovers and outrebounded the Hurricanes 51-25.
Vassallo and Delaney combined for 17 of Virginia Tech’s first 19 points and the Hokies built a 21-13 lead before the Hurricanes’ man-to-man defense got them back in it.
Virginia Tech took a 27-23 halftime lead despite 10 turnovers and took a 33-27 lead early in the second half.
The Hurricanes’ strong RPI and a strong finish that includes a win over No. 7 Duke gives them strong credentials to get an NCAA tournament bid.