By JIMMY ROBERTSON
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Anthony Lawrence II scored a career-high 25 points to lift Miami to an 84-75 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Lawrence hit 9 of 10 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, as Miami (17-5, 6-4 ACC) won its second straight game and fourth in its past five. Lonnie Walker IV and DJ Vasiljevic added 14 points each.
Behind torrid first-half shooting – 58.6 percent (17 of 29) – Miami grabbed the early lead and led for the final 37 minutes. Virginia Tech (16-7, 5-5) used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 66-63 on a layup by Justin Robinson with 3:51 remaining, but the Walker hit a clutch 3-pointer with 3:22 to go to push the lead to 69-63, and Virginia Tech got no closer than four the rest of the way.
The ‘Canes relied on something down the stretch that isn’t their strength to hold off the Hokies – free-throw shooting. The ACC’s worst free-throw shooting team coming into the game made 9 of 12 in the final 1:16. They hit 16 of 23 (69.6 percent).
Lawrence finished with his second straight double, grabbing 13 rebounds as well
Robinson led Virginia Tech with 22 points. Justin Bibbs had 16.
Miami: Despite the loss of Bruce Brown Jr. (11.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg), who underwent surgery Thursday for a left foot injury that will keep him out six weeks, the ‘Canes quietly continue to put together a strong resume for NCAA Tournament consideration. They won their sixth true road game of the season, and if they get Brown back, they could be a tough out if they get in the tournament.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies had won three straight games to play their way into the NCAA Tournament discussion, but missed on an opportunity for a stronger case. Virginia Tech now has lost three conference games at home and faces a brutal schedule down the stretch that includes two games against Duke and games against Louisville and Virginia, as well as a rematch against Miami in Coral Gables.
Miami: The ‘Canes return home for a Wednesday game against Wake Forest.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play NC State in Blacksburg on Wednesday.