BLACKSBURG—Three days after striking out in its attempt to claim the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team clinched the fifth seed Friday.
The 15th-ranked Hokies beat Miami 84–70 on Senior Night at Cassell Coliseum to claim the fifth seed.
This is Tech’s best seed since 2010, when the Hokies were the No. 4 seed in what was then a 12-team league.
“Of course we wanted that fourth seed, but five isn’t too bad in this league,” Tech swingman Ty Outlaw said.
“That’s big,” teammate Nickeil Alexander–Walker said. “It’s not a double bye, but we’ll take what we get.”
The Hokies (23–7, 12–6) will face the winner of Tuesday’s first round game between Miami and Wake Forest in the second round at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina. If Tech wins, it will face fourth-seeded Florida State in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Tech would have claimed the fourth seed and a double bye had it beaten FSU on Tuesday, but the Seminoles won in overtime.
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said injured point guard Justin Robinson will not play in the ACC Tournament.
Robinson, Outlaw and Ahmed Hill were honored in a pregame Senior Night ceremony.
Robinson, who had missed the past nine games with a foot injury, then got a ceremonial start. He played just one second, leaving the game after Tech knocked the opening tip out of bounds.
“He’s just meant so much to the transformation of our program,” Willams said. “I wanted to make sure as best we could we honored him and his family while at the same time not causing too much of a show.”
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said Williams did not speak to him before the game about the tip-off.
What would Williams have done had Miami won the tip?
“I wasn’t going to let them win the tip,” Williams said.
Friday also could have been Alexander–Walker’s final game at Cassell. The sophomore is projected to be a first-round NBA draft pick if he turns pro after this season.
Alexander–Walker flirted with a triple–double. He had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
“It would have been very cool to say I had a triple-double,” he said. “I actually tried to tell my cousin … I said, I’m going to go for one. Completely joking. But the fact that it came close, maybe I’ve got to joke more often.”
Alexander-Walker was not told he was close to a triple-double until the final minute of the game.
Hill had 17 points in his Senior Night game. He was 5 of 5 from 3-point range.
“I just wanted to stay calm,” Hill said. “I knew that it was an important day, but we still got a lot to do. We wanted to get 12 ACC wins. Senior Day can get kind of emotional. … But I wanted to come out with a lot of energy and just keep everything normal.
“[My emotions] almost got away from me when I went in the locker room and I kind of figured that was my last time playing here.”
Outlaw had 19 points in his Senior Night game.
“I wouldn’t have dreamt it up any better way,” he said. “Maybe if I didn’t miss that one free throw I could’ve broke 20; that’s about my only regret.”
Outlaw was 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
“During the game, … Ahmed had asked me how many 3s I had. … I said, I think three or four. He was like, ‘I’ve got five,’” Outlaw said. “I went down the next play and made a 3, that was four. Came down again, made my fifth one.”
The Hokies, who sank 14 3-pointers, beat Miami for the second time this year.
Miami was just 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) from 3-point range.
Down 16–8, Tech went on a 24–3 run to grab a 32–19 lead with 7:03 left in the half. Tech was 8 of 13 from 3-point range at that point. The Hokies had six 3-pointers during that run.
Tech led 45–31 at halftime. Tech shot 50 percent from the field and 60 percent (9 of 15) from 3-point range in the half. Miami was 2 of 13 from 3-point range in the half.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. had eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Tech. Freshman reserve Isaiah Wilkins had 11 points.