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January 30, 2013

Miami Battles Past Tech 73-64

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Despite another spectacular effort from Virginia Tech senior guard Erick Green, Miami sophomore guard Shane Larkin and the Hurricanes moved to 7-0 in the ACC with a 73-64 victory Wednesday night in Blacksburg.

"We're so close," Johnson said. "That's the best team in the league and the hottest team in the country and we're right there. We just got to have guys step up and make plays when they're there."

Tech was within four at 60-56 with 1:48 remaining before Larkin, who led the 'Canes with 25 points on the night, drilled a deep three pointer from the top of the key to end any hopes of a late rally.

"We tried to press and go under some of the ball screens and he's a good shooter so he just lit us up all night," said Robert Brown.

"I probably won't say anything bad to him tonight," said Miami coach Jim Larranaga.

Erick Green again led the Hokies with 30 points on 11-20 shooting.

"He's developed into the leading scorer in the country,; that's a whole other level," Larranaga said. "When everyone's attention is on you, you're going to get every defenders best effort. You're getting every team's best defender on the perimeter. It is very hard to continue to produce the way he has. It's a remarkable accomplishment by him."

Junior forward Jarrell Eddie and Green got the Hokies off to a hot start with a pair of three pointers to start the game, a trend that set the tone for the first half as Tech made 5 of 10 three pointers in the opening 20 minutes. The Hokies finished the game 8 of 18 from behind the arc.

Tech's first half effort received a big boost from sophomore guard Robert Brown, who went 3-3 from the field and nailed two three pointers in the opening frame. The two three pointers were his first three pointers since the West Virginia game on Dec. 8th. However, he didn't score in the second half.

"I think Robert Brown is starting to get something back," Johnson said. "I thought he took a step forward tonight even from the last game so I was pleased with that."

The Hokies dominated much of the first half, using a 10-2 run to push their lead to 16-10 at the second media timeout and another 10-2 run to push the lead out to 28-16 before UM took a timeout with 5:56 remaining.

Tech led 31-20 before Miami closed the half on a 9-1 run as Marshall Wood missed three free throws and a dunk while Larkin nailed a three pointer and a jumper for a huge ten-point swing. Larkin scored 12 points of his 23 in the first half and finished 9-14 from the field.

The 'Canes picked up right where they left up in the second half as they went on a quick 9-2 run out of the break before coach James Johnson called a timeout with 16:41 remaining. Promptly afterward, Green hit three straight three pointers that left the Hokies down 43-41 as Larkin buried a three of his own as well.

"This is the most fun I've had in my four years," Erick Green said. "I know we're losing and it's probably crazy for me to say that, but I'm having a great time with these guys in my last year."

"It's amazing what he's doing," Johnson said. "It is absolutely amazing. That's all. It is absolutely amazing."

However, just like it helped the Hokies in the first half, it was the three ball that propelled the 'Canes in the second half. Miami made 5 of 7 three pointers in the first ten minutes of the second half and led 54-45 with 8:11 remaining.

Miami pushed the lead out to 60-51 with 2:51 remaining before the Hokies started chipping away at the free throw line. Green made two after a driving layup and Eddie followed with three of his own after being fouled on a long distance try to pull within four.

However, Larkin's deep three with 1:48 left proved to be the dagger that broke the Hokies back as they never pulled any closer.

"We just got to find a way to put a 40-minute game together," Johnson said.

Eddie and junior forward Cadarian Raines also scored in double figures for the Hokies as Eddie scored 14 and Raines 10.

The loss dropped Virginia Tech to 11-9 overall and 2-5 in the conference.

Virginia Tech takes the court next on Saturday, Feb. 2nd at North Carolina. Tip-off is set for noon on the ACC Network.

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