Preview: Virginia Tech at Miami
On the heels of its 103-82 loss to North Carolina, No. 11 Virginia Tech needed a big win against Syracuse on Saturday and the Hokies got it, routing the Orange 78-56 at home behind a career-best 35-point performance from senior guard Justin Robinson. The Hokies will look for more of the same on the road Wednesday when they face a downtrodden Miami team off to its worst ACC start since 2011.
For Miami, the season has gone from bad to worse, with its dismal 78-66 loss to rival Florida State on Sunday leaving the undermanned Hurricanes with just one victory in their seven conference matchups. Leading scorer Chris Lykes had his second straight poor shooting effort (0-for-12) and one day later, the team found out that star forward Dewan Hernandez, who has been held out all season, will leave school and prepare for the NBA draft after the NCAA ruled him ineligible until the middle of next season. The Hokies expect Robinson to lead the way, just as he did against Syracuse, when he not only hit his personal high for scoring thanks to nailing a school-record nine 3-pointers, but also became the program’s all-time leader in career assists (548) after totaling eight in the win. “It’s a blessing,” Robinson told reporters afterward. “I appreciate my teammates, past and current, for all that. Just (head coach) Buzz (Williams) and the coaching staff trusting me and giving me the ball right away and letting me play through mistakes and play through the good things throughout my career is something that I’ll be extremely grateful for.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (16-3, 5-2 ACC): For the first time in his career, Robinson was named the ACC Player of the Week as he went 12-for-17 from beyond the arc and 13-of-19 from the field in the two games against North Carolina and Syracuse. Led by Robinson, the Hokies hit a total of 14 3-pointers against the Orange, the 13th time they recorded at least 10 in a game, with Ty Outlaw coming off the bench to nail 3-of-5 and Ahmed Hill hitting 2-of-6. Robinson (eight assists) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (career-high eight) were masters at distributing the ball against Syracuse, as 23 of the Hokies’ 25 field goals came off assists.
ABOUT MIAMI (9-10, 1-6): The Hurricanes’ 17-point halftime deficit against Florida State was their largest all season and Miami failed to hold a lead in the second half for only the third time all season. Lykes’ struggles followed a 4-for-15 outing at Syracuse, and he finished with a career-low one point against Florida State, a far cry from the 17.5 points he came in averaging. Zach Johnson (20 points) picked up some of the slack with his fourth outing of 20 points or more this season to lead four Hurricanes in double figures, but Miami struggled once again to hit from long distance (7-of-29).
1. Miami has won four of the last five meetings with Virginia Tech, including a sweep last season, and the Hurricanes own a 22-14 series advantage.
2. Robinson’s nine 3-pointers last time out broke Outlaw’s record of eight set against Miami during the 2016-17 season.
3. Miami G DJ Vasiljevic has hit at least one 3-pointer in 32 straight games, the longest current streak among ACC players and tied for the third longest in school history.