Canes Finish Strong Over VT

Elton Tyler scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds, as 22nd-ranked Miami-Florida held on to defeat Virginia Tech, 83-77, in the regular-season finale for both teams. Darius Rice had 14 points and James Jones and Marcus Barnes added 13 apiece for the Hurricanes (23-6, 10-6 Big East).

John Salmons contributed 11 points and 10 assists for Miami-Florida, which will earn the second seed in the East Division of the conference and a first- round bye in the Big East Tournament if St. John's loses to Villanova on Sunday.

Bryant Matthews netted 15 points for the Hokies (10-18, 4-12). Carlos Dixon chipped in 14 points for Virginia Tech, which dropped 13 of its final 17 contests of the season.

The Hurricanes took control early, as they used an 8-0 run, capped by Tyler's three-point play, to open a 15-4 lead.

The advantage reached 32-15, before Virginia Tech scored seven consecutive points to pull within 10 with three minutes left in the first half.

Miami-Florida eventually carried a 43-31 lead into the locker room at halftime. Tyler had 20 points in the opening 20 minutes on 8-of-11 shooting, while Rice added 10, including a dunk in the closing seconds of the half.

The Hurricanes then opened the second half with a 15-7 run to grab a seemingly comfortable 58-38 advantage with 15:27 remaining. However, the Hokies countered with a 15-5 spurt, culminated by Eric Branham's layup, to cut the deficit to 10 with just under 13 minutes left.

Virginia Tech continued to chip away and closed within 72-69 on a layup by Carlton Carter with 4:18 remaining. Miami-Florida then received baskets from Tyler and Salmons and a free throw from Salmons to push the lead back to nine with 2:11 to go.

The Hokies got no closer than six points the rest of the way.
 
Va Tech (77)
Carter 3-8 0-0 6, Matthews 5-9 3-3 15, Taylor 2-5 0-0 4,
Chase 4-7 0-0 12, Dixon 5-12 0-0 14, Hamilton 1-3 2-2 5,
Branham 5-7 2-2 12, Pigford 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-0 0-0 0,
Thompkins 3-6 1-2 7, Dongo 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 28-57 10-11 77.
 
Miami-Fla (83)
Schlie 2-3 0-0 5, Jones 5-10 3-3 13, Tyler 10-14 3-3 24,
Barnes 6-12 0-0 13, Salmons 2-6 7-9 11, Simmons 0-1 0-0 0,
Watson 0-0 0-0 0, Berumen 0-0 0-0 0, Djahue 0-1 0-0 0,
Rice 3-13 6-7 14, Frisby 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 29-62 20-24 83.
 
Halftime - Miami-Fla 43-31. Three-Point goals - Va Tech 11-23 (Chase 4-6,
Dixon 4-7, Matthews 2-5, Hamilton 1-3, Carter 0-2), Miami-Fla 5-18
(Rice 2-6, Tyler 1-1, Schlie 1-2, Barnes 1-6, Salmons 0-1, Jones 0-2).
Rebounds - Va Tech 33 (Carter 8), Miami-Fla 32 (Tyler 8). Assists -
Va Tech 15 (Dixon 7), Miami-Fla 20 (Salmons 10). Total Fouls - Va Tech 24,
Miami-Fla 15. Fouled Out - Taylor, Thompkins. Technicals - None.
Attendance - 5,011.

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