Miami Hurricanes at Virginia Tech

Feb 3 2018 Blacksburg VA USA Mandatory Credit Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 3 2018 Blacksburg VA USA Mandatory Credit Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of teams just outside the top four in the ACC standings get together in what could be a key game for either program.

"They set a lot of ball screens", Williams said.

The Miami Hurricanes travel to Blacksburg 16-5 overall and 5-4 in the Big East. Miami has lost the last two and three of their last four games at Virginia Tech.

Lonnie Walker IV led the Hurricanes with 16 points, one of four Miami players with double figures.

The Hokies enter Saturday's game 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the ACC. Miami, North Carolina State and VaTech are in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference.

With under six minutes to play, the score stood at 66-55, but a personal 6-0 run by Justin Bibbs followed by a fast-break dunk by Justin Robinson cut the deficit to three points with under four minutes to go in the game.

Robinson scored on another layup with 3:03 to go to trim the lead to 69-65, but Walker answered again. Miami fended off Tech in the final two minutes by making 9-of-12 free throws, equaling the number of free throws the Hokies converted the entire game (9-of-17). Miami made shots on three of their next four possessions, and that 3-point margin was as close as the Hokies got.

The 'Canes relied on something down the stretch that isn't their strength to hold off the Hokies - free-throw shooting. It is his 12 game in double figures this season.

Anthony Lawrence II scored a career-high 25 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds for the 'Canes, who won their second straight and for the fourth time in their past five outings. "I didn't think collectively - it's not (Blackshear), it's us - I didn't think collectively we played hard enough".

One of the biggest differences for the Hokies lately has been Robinson's almost turnover-free play.

Justin Bibbs scored 16 points.

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Miami suffered a major loss recently with star guard Bruce Brown suffering an injury that may keep him out till the ACC Tournament.

With Brown out, the Hurricanes got unexpected contributions.

Miami owns head-to-head wins against the Wolfpack and Cardinals, so a Louisville loss to Florida State coupled with a Hurricanes win over the Hokies would put the Hurricanes in the fourth spot via tiebreak.

Tech lost out on a chance at a quality win.

Lawrence, whose previous career high of 19 came on January 18 against Florida State, scored 15 of his points in the first half when Miami jumped out to a 16-point lead, but he wasn't feeling 100 percent.

Clarke scored, but Walker made a layup for a 79-73 lead with 51 seconds to go.

"I don't know if he ever did (throw up)", Larranaga said. However, they didn't have much to cheer about until the second half.

Williams wasn't particularly happy with his team's effort in the nine-point loss to the "Canes, especially that of a couple of upperclassmen". Williams compared the loss to the home loss against Florida State on January 20 when the Seminoles shot 53.4 percent. Virginia Tech is also 4th in field goal percentage, 21st in three-point field goal percentage and 19th in assists this season. "We've proven that we know how to handle failure, but we haven't proven that we know how to handle success...that's what's disappointing".

"No moxy, no toughness defensively", Williams said of his team on his postgame radio show.

"We didn't handle our success very well", he said.

With his team enjoying a three-game winning streak that featured a surprising win in Cassell Coliseum against then-No. Miami came into the game No. 20 in the RPI.

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