BLACKSBURG, Va. (HokieSports.com) – Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead No. 15 Virginia Tech past Miami 84-70 in an ACC game played Friday night at Carilion Clinic Court.
With the win, the Hokies swept the season series with Miami and moved to 23-7 overall, 12-6 in the ACC. The Hokies also tied the school record for regular-season victories. Miami fell to 13-16, 5-13 in league play.
Before the game, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program honored seniors Justin Robinson, Ty Outlaw and Ahmed Hill in a ceremony. Head coach Buzz Williams then started Robinson, who had missed the previous nine games with an injury. Kerry Blackshear Jr. took the opening tip and tipped it out of bounds, allowing Williams to substitute for Robinson.
Playing mostly at the point guard position, Alexander-Walker hit 6 of 14 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. The sophomore also tied his career high with eight assists on an evening when the Hokies had 19 assists on 29 field goals.
Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw had strong performances in their last home game for the Hokies. Outlaw scored 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Hill added 17 points and connected on five 3s as well.
Virginia Tech actually trailed 16-8 early in the game, but the Hokies found their shooting stroke and buried Miami, outscoring the ‘Canes 32-6 over a span of nearly nine minutes. The Hokies hit six of their nine first-half 3-pointers during that stretch and scored on 13 of 15 possessions.
In the second half, Miami sliced a 45-31 halftime deficit to 11 on a 3-pointer by Zach Johnson, but the Hokies answered with a 14-4 run. A Wabissa Bede left-handed layup with 12:38 remaining pushed the Hokies’ lead to 61-40 – their biggest of the game – and they never were threatened after that.
Virginia Tech shot 49.2 percent from the floor (29 of 59) and hit 14 3-pointers.
QUOTES TO NOTE
Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams
(On winning his 250th game as a head coach)
“I’m a turtle on a fence post in so many ways. Anything that I’ve done is way more than I ever thought … I think about all the people who helped me when there were no strings attached. In other words, they were reaching their hand out and pulling me, and now kind of, sort of, it’s my responsibility with those blessing to make sure that I’m reaching out and helping others, too.”
(On setting the school record with 23 regular-season wins)
“In year No. 1 [2014-15], we won 11 percent of our ACC games, and [after] tonight, we’ve won at a 67-percent clip when 10 of those games – five were played with seven guys in uniform and the other five were played with eight guys in uniform. I think it’s off the chart. I think if I was a little more media-centric, I think there’d be a little more hub about it, but I kind of like that there’s no hub. It just, ‘Buzz is just a weirdo,’ and ‘Can you believe how they’re doing this without 5 [Robinson?’ At some point, maybe you should say, ‘Look at what they’re doing without him.’ But that’s my ego, and I try to suppress that as much as possible.”
• Alexander-Walker’s double-double marked the first of his career.
• Alexander-Walker has scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games this season.
• The Hokies have handed out at least 19 assists in 11 games this season.
• Tech’s 14 3-pointers tied for its most in ACC play this season. The Hokies also hit 14 in a win over Syracuse.
• Tech moved to 14-2 on the season when hitting at least 10 3-pointers in a game.
• The Hokies edged Miami 33-30 on the boards, and they are now 16-2 when out-rebounding their opponent.
• Outlaw’s 19 points were his second-most in a game this season. He scored 20 in the Hokies’ home win over Georgia Tech.
• Outlaw has hit at least three 3-pointers in a game 14 times this season.
• Hill’s five 3-pointers were tied for his second-most in a game this season. He hit six in the Hokies’ win over Central Connecticut State and five in their win over St. Francis.
Tech locked up the No. 5 seed in next week’s ACC Tournament and will play the winner of the No. 12-No. 13 matchup on Wednesday afternoon at 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina.