Though Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said Monday night he showed his team tape of its 14-point Atlantic Coast Conference-opening loss to North Carolina for 50 minutes, forward Jeff Allen said it felt more like a few hours.
With memories of that demoralizing loss still lingering, Allen and Tech went about the process of putting it behind them by embarrassing No. 23 Miami on Wednesday night in an 81-66 victory at Cassell Coliseum. A 37-9 Tech run in the first half, which featured precision shooting from the perimeter against Miami's 2-3 zone, effectively put the game out of reach.
Guard Malcolm Delaney led Tech (13-2, 1-1 ACC) with 28 points, nine assists, one turnover and two steals while playing 38 minutes for a second straight game after coming off a sprained left ankle. After failing to record a single point or rebound in the second half Sunday night against UNC, no player needed more of a bounce-back game than Allen. He got it with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.
"I just kept my head up (against Miami)," Allen said. "In the second half against Carolina, I just got down."
After guard James Dews made a shot with 15:53 remaining in the first half to cut Tech's lead to 11-4, Miami (15-2, 1-2) would make just one more field goal in the next 12 minutes and 41 seconds. Dews led the Hurricanes with 11 points.
Tech took advantage of Miami's ice-cold shooting to go on its colossal run, extending its advantage to 48-13 with 2:15 left in the half. Tech did much of its first-half damage on the offensive end from 3-point range against the zone, making seven of nine 3-pointers.
Miami missed 16 of its first 20 shots from the floor, including its first eight 3-point attempts — a surprising failure for a team that came into the game leading the ACC with an average of 8.75 successful 3-pointers per game. Miami shot 22 percent (6 of 27) from 3-point range for the game.
"When we defend, we're pretty good," Greenberg said. "There were 15 to 18 minutes where we were as good as we've been defensively."
Tech forward Terrell Bell, who entered the night averaging 5.4 points per game, scored 11 in the final 31/2 minutes of the run, including a trio of 3-pointers. By halftime, Tech's lead was 50-23. Bell had already chipped in 13 points.
"It was huge," Bell said regarding how big the basket looked in the first half. "I can't explain it."
It was Tech's biggest halftime edge in ACC play since March 4, 2008, when it held a 47-26 lead against Wake Forest in a game the Hokies won 80-58. Tech shot 62 percent from the floor in the first half against Miami, while the Hurricanes managed just 27 percent.
Forward Dwayne Collins came into the game leading Miami with 12.9 points per game, but he was no factor offensively in the first half against Tech, scoring one point and going 0-for-4 from the floor. He finished with nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Miami showed brief life early in the second half, going on an 18-4 run to slice Tech's lead to 64-49 with eight minutes left. Allen helped bring the run to an end when he fed forward J.T. Thompson on a no-look, behind-the-back pass under the basket for a Thompson dunk with 7:30 left to put Tech up 66-49.
Tech, which shot just 29 percent from the floor in the second half and 47 percent for the game, staved off Miami's comeback bid. Miami, which shot 34 percent from the floor for the game, only got to within 14 points in the closing minutes.
"People were wondering what we were going to do after that North Carolina loss," Delaney said. "I think we proved that we can come back and still play together as a team."
VIRGINIA TECH 81, NO. 23 MIAMI 66MIAMI (15-2, 1-2): McGowan 2-3 0-0 4, Collins 2-7 5-10 9, Jones 4-5 0-1 8, Grant 2-9 3-4 9, Dews 4-16 2-3 11, Scott 2-5 4-8 8, Adams 2-7 0-0 6, Thomas 1-7 0-0 3, Johnson 2-2 4-5 8, Gamble 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-61 18-31 66. VIRGINIA TECH (13-2, 1-1): Allen 5-9 3-4 14, Bell 5-6 0-1 13, Davila 2-5 1-4 5, Hudson 3-7 4-4 11, Delaney 6-14 14-16 28, Raines 0-0 0-0 0, Green 1-4 0-0 2, Witcher 0-2 0-0 0, Boggs 0-0 0-0 0, Atkins 0-0 0-0 0, Debnam 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson 3-6 2-4 8. Totals 25-53 24-33 81. Halftime—Virginia Tech 50-23. 3-Point Goals—Miami 6-27 (Grant 2-5, Adams 2-7, Thomas 1-7, Dews 1-8), Virginia Tech 7-16 (Bell 3-3, Delaney 2-4, Allen 1-2, Hudson 1-5, Green 0-2). Fouled Out—Davila, Dews, Scott, Thomas, Thompson. Rebounds—Miami 39 (Johnson 10), Virginia Tech 45 (Allen 10). Assists—Miami 11 (Grant 4), Virginia Tech 17 (Delaney 9). Total Fouls—Miami 26, Virginia Tech 23. A—9,827.
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