The Virginia Tech Hokies continued their success this season Tuesday night, winning their fourth straight game, beating the Miami Hurricanes, 80-78. .
Virginia Tech made things tough for Miami, recording 12 steals and forcing 19 turnovers on the night. Justyn Mutts had an especially scrappy night, recording 3 steals and 3 offensive rebounds. The Hokies improved to 8-1 on the year with Hurricanes falling to 4-3.
Breakout star Keve Aluma had arguably his best game of the year, filling the stat sheet with a career-high 26 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal, and three blocks. The junior big man has increasingly become Mike Young’s go-to-guy this season, leading the team in minutes, shot attempts, and points per game.
From the beginning of the matchup, Aluma asserted his dominance with a block and a putback dunk in the first few minutes.
About halfway through the first half the Hokies began to heat up from three, keeping the offense going strong.
The game was tied at 30 with four minutes left in the first half., but Aluma and Jalen Cone would lead the Hokies on a 12-3 run to end it.
Virginia Tech eventually pulled out to a 17-point lead in the second half, but a spirited comeback attempt late in the game for Miami would bring the game within one score multiple times in the last couple of minutes in part due to untimely free throw misses by Wabissa Bede and Justyn Mutts.
Aluma talked about his performance after the game.
“I just try to be aggressive, my team trusts me so I just try to do the best that I can,” the Wofford transfer explained in an interview.
The Hokies are continuing what is looking like a stellar season, winning 8 of their first nine games and currently sitting atop the ACC standings. Most analysts had the team ranked near the bottom of the conference in the preseason, but that has not stopped this group. Head coach Mike Young looks like the early favorite for ACC Coach of the Year as his guys are rising above all expectations.
Virginia Tech has two tough tests coming up as they face off the No. 23 Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday, their storied rival. Next Wednesday, they will play the 6-1 Louisville Cardinals as they look to prove themselves as one of the better teams in the country.