Just four days earlier, Miami played senior day spoilers at No. 9 North Carolina with a stunning, last-second buzzer beater from Ja’Quan Newton.
The Hurricanes followed the same script Saturday to end their regular season on a high note, except with much less theatrics.
Chris Lykes, the 5-foot-6 freshman guard, sank a free throw with 3 seconds left to lift the Hurricanes to a 69-68 win over Virginia Tech at the Watsco Center. Miami heads into the postseason riding a four-game win streak.
After trailing by as many as 12 points in the first half and 39-32 at halftime, the Hurricanes (22-8, 11-7 ACC) quickly took control of the game after intermission. After Lykes and Virginia Tech’s Justin Bibbs exchanged three-point baskets to open up the second half, the Hurricanes darted out on a 12-0 run keyed by threes from Lonnie Walker and Anthony Lawrence, and three layups from Dewan Huell. Huell’s first layup gave Miami its first lead since being up 1-0 a minute into the game. The third came courtesy of a no-look pass from Lykes.
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A pair of Virginia Tech rallies gave the Hokies (21-9, 10-8 ACC) a brief 68-66 lead before Walker hit a running layup to tie the game again with 53.4 seconds left and Lykes gave Miami the lead for good at the charity stripe. Lykes scored 15 points and dished out a career-high seven assists in the win, while sophomore DJ Vasiljevic scored a team-high 16 points.
Virginia Tech’s Justin Robinson led all scorers with 19 points.
The Hurricanes begin the ACC Tournament either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on seeding, which will be determined after all conference games finish on Saturday.