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Virginia Tech 78, Miami (Ohio) 63

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Updated 11 months ago on
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Guards Adam Smith and Justin Bibbs combined for 48 points and 10 3-pointers, propelling Virginia Tech to a 78-63 victory over Miami (Ohio) in the consolation game of the Cancun Challenge in Cancun, Mexico.

Smith, who shot 5-for-7 from the 3-point arc, finished with 26 points. Bibbs, a true freshman, contributed 22 points and made five of six long-range attempts.

Virginia Tech center Joey Van Zegeren added eight points and nine rebounds in only 21 minutes.

The Hokies (3-2) were blown out by a veteran Northern Iowa team on Tuesday and badly needed a bounce-back effort before heading home to Blacksburg. Despite 20 turnovers, Virginia Tech’s offense came alive, shooting 49 percent from the floor, 52.6 percent from 3-point range and converting 18 of 24 attempts from the foul line.

The Redhawks (2-3) trailed by 22 at the break but cut the Hokies’ lead to 15 on a 3-pointer from guard Zach McCormick with 16:27 remaining in the game.

“I was pleased with our second half because I thought a couple of things occurred,” Miami coach John Cooper said. “We didn’t tuck our heads. We came out. We competed, and for one of the first times this year, we really got some life and some energy going on the offensive end of the court, and we picked up the press. It really seemed to get us moving.”

Virginia Tech responded with 22-9 run spurred by 16 points from Smith and Bibbs, at one point building a 27-point lead.

Eleven Redhawks broke into the scoring column, but McCormick (12 points) was the only Miami player in double figures. Guards Eric Washington and Will Sullivan each chipped in nine points.

With the score tied 7-7, it appeared points would come at premium as neither team could find a rhythm on the offensive end. The Redhawks’ struggles persisted, but the Hokies began to heat up.

Sparked by Smith, Virginia Tech outscored the Redhawks 32-10 the rest of the way, building a 39-17 halftime lead.

Smith led all scorers at the intermission with 15 points off the bench, pouring in 11 points the final 5:48.

Following Tuesday’s loss, Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams noted his displeasure with his team’s aggression after the Hokies shot just eight free throws to Northern Iowa’s 21.

On Wednesday, Tech attacked the rim early and often, finishing the first half 11-for-14 from the foul line.

Washington, a transfer from Presbyterian averaging 10.3 points per game, did not start Wednesday after he was late to the pregame meal.

“It’s like I told the team, there are consequences for your actions,” Cooper said. “(Benching Washington) certainly wasn’t the reason why we lost the game, but I think if you saw the second half, you were able to see the kind of impact he can have on our team.”

NOTES: Hokies C Joey Van Zegeren and Redhawks G Eric Washington were selected to the Riviera Division’s All-Tournament Team for the Cancun Challenge. … Virginia Tech and Miami (Ohio) met for the first time since December 27, 1985. … Miami visits Elon on Sunday afternoon. … The Hokies head home to host Morgan State on Sunday afternoon.

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