Virginia Tech Basketball: Hurricanes overwhelm Hokies 76-52


Feb 18, 2015; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Buzz Williams reacts in the first half of a game against the Miami Hurricanes at BankUnited Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The temperature outside is bitter cold, and so has been the Hokies shooting as of late.  However, Buzz Williams and company were heading south to warmer weather and hopefully some hotter shooting.  The Hokies needed a good shooting game to pick up the first ACC road win in the Buzz Williams era.  Miami presented a tough challenge for the young Hokies, being they were a more experienced version of the Hokies.  The Hokies did get a bit of good news for this game.  They would not be as short-handed as they had been in the past weeks, as Will Johnston returned to the team from an elbow injury.

In the first half the Hokies looked to be the more experienced team, and looked to have forgotten the poor performance on Saturday against Clemson.  The Hokies started out on fire scoring on their first three possessions, to race out to an 8-2 lead.  Buzz Williams team looked to be playing with great energy and passion.  However, Miami settled down and clawed their way back into the game.  Miami used a distinct advantage in the paint, and on the backboards to create a seesaw battle that would last for the entire half.

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The Hokies battled hard and some Hokies showed it more than others.  Will Johnston, in his first game back wasted no time getting into the hustle stat column, hitting the floor for loose balls on consecutive possessions.  Malik Mueller, who has been the Hokies offensive leader for the last few games suffered a cut over his eye and looked like he had been in a prize fight more than in a basketball game.  All this battling however, led to the Hokies trailing the Hurricanes by 3 at the half time buzzer 29-26.

The first four minutes of the second half are arguably some of the most important stretch of minutes, if not the most important stretch of minutes in any basketball game.  For the Hokies they needed a great start to the half and needed to keep the lead manageable, or even take the lead themselves.  However, the Hokies failed at this task horribly.  If the Hokies looked like the experienced team in the first half, they showed their true colors after the intermission.  Miami in the blink of an eye turned a 3 point lead into 9, then to 12, then 19 and finally as much as 28.

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  • The Hokies were blitzed by the Hurricanes and could not respond.  Miami dominated the Hokies in the paint outscoring the Hokies inside by almost 4 times as much.  Tonye Jekiri was a man among children inside.  Jekiri finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds.  He dominated the glass almost out rebounding the Hokies himself (Hokies had 19), and created a multitude of second chance opportunities in the second half, which helped expand the lead.  Sheldon McClellan led Miami in scoring with 21, although it was a very quiet 21 points if that is possible.  The Hurricanes shot 51 percent from the field for the game, which was the polar opposite of the Hokies.

    The Hokies started off hot but cooled of significantly.  The Hokies finished shooting only 34 percent from the field.  They say you live and die by the three point shot.  Such is the case for the Hokies.  Virginia Tech only hit 7 out of the 21 three’s they attempted.  The three point shot was the only shot available in most cases as Miami’s interior defense made it extremely difficult for the Hokies to score.  Adam Smith led the Hokies with 15 points.  Justin Bibbs rebounded slightly from his poor shooting performances to score 11 and Devin Wilson also chipped in 11 as well.

    The Hokies have had 3 horrible quarters out of the last four they have played.  The opportunities for Buzz Williams bunch to get wins is dwindling, as matchups with the Hurricanes again, Duke and UVA loom on the horizon.  The Hokies never quit playing hard even down 28.  Teams that play hard but don’t get the wins are going to wear on the patience of fans very quickly.  Buzz Williams has the program’s foundation going in the right direction.  It is now time for the Hokies to take the next step, and win the games they are capable of winning.  For now though the Hokies will have to regroup, head back to the bitter cold Blacksburg, and get ready for North Carolina State on Saturday.