March 12, 2010
Tech falls to Miami at ACC tournament
By Jimmy Robertson
Miami (20-12) 353570
Virginia Tech (23-8) 372865
  • Greensboro, NC - Greensboro Coliseum - 23,381
  • High Points: 18 - Jeff Allen
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Jeff Allen

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Miami guard Durand Scott scored nine of his 17 points in the final three minutes, and Virginia Tech didn’t score in the final two minutes, as the fourth-seeded Hokies fell to the 12th-seeded Hurricanes 70-65 in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on Friday afternoon.

With the loss, the Hokies dropped to 23-8 overall and lost to the ’Canes for the second time in three meetings this season. Miami, which knocked off fifth seed Wake Forest in the first round, moved to 20-12 on the season and advanced to the semifinals to take on top-seeded Duke on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s very disappointing, but we didn’t do what we were supposed to do to win,” Tech guard Malcolm Delaney said. “Every team in the ACC is good. Any team can lose. We didn’t get stops and we didn’t make shots. That was the biggest thing.

“We wanted to win this [the ACC tournament]. We didn’t come down here to play and get to the NCAA Tournament. We wanted to win. That was our goal. Unfortunately, that’s gone. Now we’ve got to ready for whatever happens next.”

Tech fell victim to poor shooting the entire game – the Hokies shot just 38 percent – and to its sub-par defense down the stretch.

Miami took the lead for good on two Scott free throws with 1:53 remaining that gave the ’Canes a slim 66-65 margin. In the final minute, Delaney missed two shots that would have given the Hokies the lead. The first shot came on a jumper after a timeout with 46 seconds remaining. Miami’s Reggie Johnson got the rebound, but Delaney stripped Johnson and went up for another shot underneath the basket that was hotly contested. Delaney wanted the foul call, but no call came.

“I don’t want to speak on that play,” Delaney said.

“It’s a stack play and we wanted to get Malcolm coming off a ball screen,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “You run a play, but then you have to make a play out of a play. You run a play and get the ball into a player’s hands, and then he’s got to make a decision.”

Jeff Allen fouled Miami’s Malcolm Grant with 25.7 seconds left, and Grant made both free throws to give the ’Canes a 68-65 lead.

On Tech’s next possession, Delaney pushed the ball up the court and drove inside. Miami’s defense collapsed on him, and he tossed the ball to Terrell Bell in the corner. Bell, who had been hot with four 3-pointers already, saw his shot come up short. Bell thought he got hit on the attempt.

“It’s the same shot I took all game,” Bell said. “One of their players hit my hand and I looked at the ref, and he didn’t make the call. It happens. We should have played way better from the beginning.”

“I thought Terrell had a good look at it and it’s a shot he made all night,” Greenberg said. “In that situation, we thought they were going to push up on us and we wanted to get Malcolm the ball on the run and get him in the lane. If he can get to the basket, then great. If not, then make a play. He [Delaney] made the right decision.”

Delaney fouled Scott with 17.5 seconds left, and Scott buried both free throws to give Miami a 70-65 lead. Miami made all seven of its free-throw attempts in the final three minutes.

Delaney missed a 3-point attempt with 14 seconds to go, and Miami got the rebound and ran out the clock to seal the win.

Delaney, the ACC’s leading scorer at better than 20 points per game and a first-team All-ACC member, finished with just seven points and went 3-for-15 from the floor, including 0-for-8 from beyond the arc.

“I shot horrible,” he said. “I had so many open looks that I just missed. Easy looks, too. I don’t know. I just shot horrible.

“I thought I got a lot of open shots. They were going under ball screens and I’ve never seen a team go under ball screens. They played it smart because I wasn’t making shots.”

“I look at Malcolm’s 15 shots and I’m not sure he took a bad shot,” Greenberg said. “So it was just one of those days. He was so special against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest and some of those other games. He just didn’t make shots in this one. We picked a bad day not to make shots.”

Allen paced the Hokies with a double-double, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and the 26th of his career. Dorenzo Hudson, who came back after missing the Georgia Tech game with a foot injury, added 16 points – 13 of those coming in the first eight minutes of the game. Bell finished with 12, hitting a career-high four 3-pointers, and JT Thompson had 10.

Scott led Miami with 17 points, hitting 6 of 12 from the floor and all five of his free-throw attempts. DeQuan Jones had 14 points and Johnson grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds,

Miami hammered Tech 46-29 on the boards, and the ’Canes shot 46.3 percent from the floor as well.

“I thought we played hard,” Greenberg said. “I know it sounds simplistic, but we didn’t guard the ball the way we needed to and we didn’t make shots. It’s not a whole lot trickier than that. But that’s what the game is – it’s a make-and-miss game.”

The Hokies will find out their postseason destination on Sunday evening. Most seem to feel that Tech will receive an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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