ACC Tournament: Virginia Tech 65, Miami 47
Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009
ATLANTA ó Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech easily kept its NCAA tournament hopes alive against Miami, however the coach knows his Hokies will “have to take it to a whole new level” Friday against North Carolina.
Virginia Tech broke open a close game with a 14-0 run in the second half and beat Miami 65-47 in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Thursday and advance to Friday’s game against the top-seeded Tar Heels.
“I think our transition defense was fine today, but it’s a different animal tomorrow,” Greenberg said. “(North Carolina) is the best transition team in America. They push it at you in warp speed and they’ve got guys at the end of that who can make plays.”
Greenberg is trying to join his older brother, Radford coach Brad Greenberg, in the NCAA tournament. Radford won the Big South championship on Saturday.
“I’m so proud of him,” said Greenberg before adding with a smile, “He’s a much nicer person than me.”
Malcolm Delaney made only 1 of 10 shots from the field but made 14 of 15 free throws to lead Virginia Tech (18-13) with 17 points. A.D. Vassallo added 14 points and 8 rebounds.
The Hokies, who led by 14 points in the first half, were ahead only 43-37 midway through the second half before the 14-0 run. J.T. Thompson, who had 12 points, started the hot streak with back-to-back baskets and capped the run with a basket with 7:15 remaining for a 57-37 lead.
It didn’t take Thompson and the Hokies long to turn their focus to North Carolina. The Tar Heels won 86-78 at Virginia Tech on March 4.
“If we play tough through the whole game we have a chance to win,” Thompson said. “Anytime you see light blue it makes you want to play a little harder. It’s going to be a great game tomorrow. I can’t wait.”
Adrian Thomas and Jack McClinton each had nine points to lead Miami (18-12), which now likely awaits a spot in the National Invitation Tournament.
Virginia Tech struggled to beat Miami 88-83 in overtime at Miami on Jan. 25. The rematch on a neutral court was not as close.
“The major difference was we simply weren’t hitting our shots,” said Miami’s Jimmy Graham, who had four points and missed each of his four free throws.
Meanwhile, from Graham’s view, “Everything (Virginia Tech) threw up went down.”