BLACKSBURG -- Shane Larkin is a sophomore in a starting lineup full of seniors for Miami, and often his biggest role is to drive the lane and facilitate for his teammates.
But he's plenty capable as a scorer, as he showed Thursday night in leading the No. 14 Hurricanes to a 73-64 victory at Virginia Tech that continued their best start in Atlantic Coast Conference play (7-0).
Larkin scored 25 points, his highest total in an ACC game this season, including nine straight during a personal run that spanned both halves and helped the Hurricanes rally from a 12-point first-half deficit.
“He's very smart, he's very team-oriented and very unselfish,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “He loves giving the ball up. He'll give it to anybody on the team if they're open. But I think he realized tonight he needed to play a little more aggressively on offense.”
Erick Green, the nation's scoring leader, finished with 30 points to lead the Hokies, who lost their third straight game to fall to 11-9, 2-5 in the ACC.
“It's not getting old,” Green said. “I'm having the most fun that I've had in my four years. I know it sounds crazy for me to say that, because we're losing, but I'm having a great time with these guys. These guys are getting me open, and I'm just making shots. I wouldn't trade this for the world.”
Miami (16-3) trailed 28-16 with 5:56 to play in the first half but rallied to tie it at 34 early in the second half when Trey McKinney Jones nailed a 3-pointer with 18:13 left.
The Hokies turned the ball over on their next possession, and Miami took advantage, using Durand Scott's transition layup to take a 36-34 edge with 17:40 left. It was the Hurricanes' first lead since early in the first half.
The Hurricanes pushed the lead to four, but behind Green's hot shooting, the Hokies answered. A 3-pointer by Green with 14:43 left helped Tech regain a 43-41 edge.
The Hokies led 45-44 with 11:43 left after Cadarian Raines scored, but the Hurricanes went on a 10-0 run to take control for good, thanks to 3-pointers from Larkin and McKinney Jones. Kenny Kadji's dunk with 8:19 left gave Miami a 54-45 lead.
Virginia Tech got within four as Jarell Eddie hit three free throws with 2:14 left, but Larkin answered on the next possession, hitting a deep 3-pointer with 1:47 left to put Miami up 63-56.
Kadji scored 18 points and McKinney Jones added 12 for the Hurricanes.
Eddie had 14 points for the Hokies, who also got 10 points and eight rebounds from Raines.
Miami matched the Hokies' quick pace for the first six minutes of the first half, but Tech used two runs to take early control. Trailing 8-6, the Hokies went on a 7-0 run capped by a Robert Brown 3-pointer to take a 13-8 lead with 13:55 left.
The Hokies led 18-14 after Miami's Rion Brown scored with 10:32 left. But Virginia Tech went on a 10-2 run to take its biggest lead of the half, 28-16, on Green's long jumper with 5:56 left.
“They came out of the locker room on fire,” Larranaga said. “When you start making shots early, that kind of generates a lot of energy, not only with you, but with your teammates. When Erick got it going, then Robert Brown got it going, then Eddie got it going, and all of a sudden … we're down by 12 points. But we're still in the first half, and there's a lot of basketball to be played.”
The Hurricanes got hot at the end of the half to close the gap. With his team down 32-22, Larkin scored seven points to pull Miami within 32-29. The burst coincided with a tough stretch for Hokies freshman Marshall Wood, who was fouled shooting a 3-pointer but missed all three foul shots and later blew a dunk.
“He's the key to that team,” Johnson said of Larkin. “He's the head of the snake. We had to do a good job on him. I thought he made big plays.”
Miami's Reggie Johnson scored four points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He is 36 points away from 1,000 for his career. …
Virginia Tech's Marquis Rankin made his second straight start in place Brown, but he finished scoreless in 21 minutes. Joey van Zegeren replaced Raines in the starting lineup, and he had two points. Raines came off the bench due to an illness. …
Green scored 483 points last season. He surpassed that total Wednesday and has 509 points in just 20 games this season.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun