Miami, FIU Basketball Knocked Out of Conference Tournaments With Wednesday Losses - NBC 6 South Florida

Miami, FIU Basketball Knocked Out of Conference Tournaments With Wednesday Losses

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15: A detail of an official NCAA Men's Basketball game ball made by Wilson is seen on the court as the Iowa State Cyclones play against the Connecticut Huskies during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on March 15, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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    • Miami head coach Jim Larranaga has his first losing season since going 9-18 in his first year at George Mason in 1997-98,

    Ty Outlaw and No. 16 Virginia Tech got a quick offensive start. The Hokies didn't need a whole lot more to advance in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

    Outlaw hit three 3-pointers during the Hokies' game-opening 11-point run and they never trailed in beating Miami 71-56 on Wednesday in the second round.

    Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Hokies (24-7). They ran out to a 20-point lead before halftime, then turned away Miami's last serious push early in the second half with a 20-5 run that drove the margin past 20 again.

    "When you have teammates like ours, it makes the game a lot easier from the start, whether we're hitting or not, because everybody is a threat," Blackshear said. "We know that when somebody is hot, that's the person we're going to find.

    "We know that each person is going to make the right basketball play for our team, whether that be taking their own shot, finding somebody else, setting a screen, anything like that."

    The numbers sure looked good for Virginia Tech, which shot 50 percent and made 11 of 27 3-pointers to beat the 12th-seeded Hurricanes for a third time this season — all by double-figure margins. 

    Virginia Tech twice made at least five straight shots during the game.

    "They move the ball extremely fast to basically four guards on the perimeter and a big guy who can really handle," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "All five guys shoot the 3. They spread you out.

    "Their touches — where it's in your hand and out of your hand without dribbling — gives them a chance to get open shots. The defense can't move as fast as the ball can."

    Chris Lykes scored 19 points for Miami (14-18) which never gave itself much of a chance by falling behind big from the jump and shooting just 34 percent.

    The Hurricanes' first-round win against Wake Forest on Tuesday ensured they would win at least one game in the ACC Tournament in seven of Larranaga's eight seasons as coach.

    That turned out to be the only highlight in a two-day stay in Charlotte at the end of a frustrating season, which included never having 6-foot-11 forward Dewan Hernandez — who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of his dealings with an agent and ultimately left school to pursue a professional career.

    Larranaga has his first losing season since going 9-18 in his first year at George Mason in 1997-98, and he had won at least 20 games in six of his first seven seasons with the Hurricanes. 

    "It was very, very challenging to have only seven scholarship players available to us," Larranaga said. "It was very hard to prepare and practice properly. Because, amongst those seven players, they were dealing with injuries."

    Meanwhile, Umoja Gibson had 21 points as North Texas beat Florida International 71-57 in the first round of the Conference USA Tourney on Wednesday night.

    Zachary Simmons had 19 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for North Texas (21-11). Ryan Woolridge added six rebounds. Michael Miller had eight points and 10 rebounds for North Texas.

    Florida International scored 22 points in the first half, a season low for the team.

    Brian Beard Jr. had 13 points for the Panthers (19-13). Devon Andrews added 10 points. Osasumwen Osaghae had 10 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks.

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