March 12, 2015
Hokies' season ends with loss to Miami at ACC Tourney
By Jimmy Robertson
12F
Virginia Tech (11-22) 193049
Miami (21-11) 253459
  • Greensboro Coliseum - 22,026
  • High Points: 10 - Ahmed Hill, Adam Smith
  • High Rebounds: 6 - Ahmed Hill

GREENSBORO, N.C. – After losing twice to Miami by more than 20 points in each game during the regular season, Virginia Tech played the ’Canes much tougher this time around, but Miami pieced together enough shots down the stretch to hold off the Hokies 59-49 in an ACC Tournament game played at the Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The loss marked the end of the Hokies’ season. Virginia Tech finished its inaugural campaign under coach Buzz Williams with an 11-22 record.

The game also marked the end of the careers of Christian Beyer and Will Johnston, both of whom came to Tech as walk-ons and earned scholarships.

“The only reason I wanted to win, not because it was for Virginia Tech and a quarterfinal game or whatever game it was, was because I want to be around these two guys,” Williams said, referring to Beyer and Johnston. “I wanted those guys to keep playing.”

The Hokies struggled to make shots most of the game, but took a 38-37 lead on a Jalen Hudson basket with 8:46 left. That, however, marked Tech’s last lead of the game, as Miami went on a 7-1 run and did not trail again.

The Hokies closed to 44-43 on a basket by Adam Smith with 5:31 left. But they only hit two more shots the rest of the game.

Another Smith basket with 2:38 remaining cut the lead to 49-45, but Miami’s Deandre Burnett hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 to go and that all but sealed it for the ’Canes. Miami made 6 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final 1:04 to keep Tech at bay.

Smith and Ahmed Hill led the Hokies with 10 points each. Tech, though, shot just 40.4 percent from the floor and made just three 3-pointers. Beyer added nine points and five rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.

“They’re really big down low, especially with [Tonye] Jekiri. He’s a very good at altering shots, so whenever you get in there, it’s hard to finish,” Devin Wilson said. “We kept trying to attack him and play inside-out, but unlucky for us, our shots weren’t falling today. Give credit to them, though. They played good defense and were able to contest a lot of our shots.”

Sheldon McClellan paced the ’Canes with 16 points, while Davon Reed added 10. Miami shot 42.6 percent from the floor and take advantage of a big disparity at the free-throw line, making 14 of 18 attempts. Tech made just 4 of 8.

“In comparison to the previous two games, I thought our staff, their adjustments were superb and the execution of those adjustments by our players was arguably as good as it’s been all year defensively,” Williams said. “We only gave up four offensive rebounds – and one of those was a team rebound. Our turnover rate was too high [nine], but it was still under 10.

“But when you get to postseason play, that’s how thin the margin is.”

The ’Canes advanced to the quarterfinals, where they will take on Notre Dame at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

The Hokies now gear up for the offseason and soon begin prepping for the 2015-16 campaign. Tech returns eight players and gets the services of two transfers – Seth Allen and Zach LeDay – and three recruits.

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