NCAA

Historically deep ACC continues to take its toll on Hokies

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Historically deep ACC continues to take its toll on Hokies

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The Miami Hurricanes won at home Wednesday to nudge their Atlantic Coast Conference record above .500, and given the league's depth, that's not an achievement they're taking lightly. 

Davon Reed had 18 points and six assists and Miami pulled away in the second half to beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 74-68.

"It's always a grudge match when we play them," Reed said. "Any win in the ACC, home or away, with a chance to advance in the league is big time."

Hokies coach Buzz Williams agreed the result was significant, given the conference's caliber this year.

"I think it will go down in the annals of college basketball history as the best league in a single season," Williams said.

Miami (16-7, 6-5 ACC) won for the fourth time in the past five games. Virginia Tech (16-7, 5-6) lost for the fifth time in six league road games.

The Hurricanes never trailed after halftime and went on an 18-2 run midway through second half to take a 65-49 lead. The Hokies went six minutes without a field goal.

"That was the difference, all due to getting stops," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said.

Reed went 4 for 8 from 3-point range and made all six of his free throws. Ja'Quan Newton added 16 points and Anthony Lawrence had 12.

Justin Robinson led Virginia Tech with 15 points but was called for a technical foul with 28 seconds left, and Reed made both free throws for a 71-63 lead to seal the win.

Virginia Tech lost despite outscoring Miami 18-7 in the final 4:22. The Hokies struggled against Miami's zone and were outscored by 17 points from the field.

"We were able to contain their penetration for the most part," Reed said.

The Hokies shot 4 for 13 from 3-point range, and are 7 for 33 beyond the arc (21 percent) in the past two games.

There were 11 lead changes in the first half, and Miami outscored Tech 9-0 in the final 1:06 to lead 40-34 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have been outscored by 26, 15, 19, 23 and six points in their league road defeats.

Miami: The Hurricanes won for the seventh time in the past eight meetings between the two teams. They play again Feb. 27.

UP FRONT

Hurricanes forward Kamari Murphy and reserve center Ebuka Izundu combined to score 18 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Izundu was plus-16 in 19 minutes to lead Miami.

LOSING THE BALL

The Hokies had 15 turnovers, including six during Miami's decisive second-half run.

"We played much harder than we have over the last two weeks," Williams said. "We were much more connected. We just made too many mistakes."

OFF NIGHT

The Hurricanes won even though their third-leading scorer, Bruce Brown, missed his first 10 shots and finished with two points. The rest of the team shot 54 percent.

"Bruce hasn't appeared to be himself the past two games," Larranaga said. "The energy -- he has been kind of subdued."

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: The Hokes play host to No. 12 Virginia on Sunday. The game is a rematch after the Hokies lost at Virginia 71-48 last week.

"It's important to the people in the state of Virginia," Williams said. "Hopefully we'll do better than we did last Wednesday."

Miami: The Hurricanes play Saturday at No. 4 Louisville. Four of the Hurricanes' final eight regular-season games will be against ranked teams.

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No. 12 seed Liberty shocks Mississippi State to earn first-ever NCAA Tournament win

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No. 12 seed Liberty shocks Mississippi State to earn first-ever NCAA Tournament win

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Caleb Homesley scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half and Lovell Cabbil hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:16 to play to send 12th-seeded Liberty to its first NCAA Tournament win in school history, 80-76 over fifth-seeded Mississippi State on Friday night.

The Flames (29-6) were making their fourth tournament trip in school history, but lost twice as a No. 16 seed and once in the play-in game. This year's team had more respect, a higher seeding and capitalized on the opportunity.

Homesley helped rally Liberty from a 10-point deficit in the second half by scoring 14 points in a span of less than five minutes. Cabbil then hit from long range to make it 72-70 and celebrated with an enthusiastic fan section that made the cross-country trip from Virginia for the game.

Liberty did the rest at the foul line to spoil the first tournament trip for Mississippi State (23-11) in a decade.

The Flames advanced to the second round of the East Region to play the winner of the game between Saint Louis and Virginia Tech.

Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 27 points to lead the Bulldogs and Reggie Perry added 21.

Cabbil finished with 18 points and Myo Baxter-Bell added 13.

Mississippi State appeared poised to take control when Peters started a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and ended it with a layup that made it 63-53 midway through the second half.

The Bulldogs had used their superior size to control the paint on both ends and had broken open a tight game before the Flames responded. Homesley was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three foul shots. He then hit two from long range to cut it to 67-64.

Homesley also hit a backdoor dunk on a feed from Cabbil to make it a one-point game before hitting a long 3-pointer late in the shoot clock to put Liberty back on top 69-67 with 2:34 to play.

After three free throws from the Bulldogs, Cabbil's 3 provided the final lead change of the night.

BIG PICTURE

Liberty: The Flames showed early that they were poised to match up with a Power 5 team. They made seven 3-pointers in the first half and led by four points before Mississippi State scored the final six to lead 37-35 at the break.

Mississippi State: Coach Ben Howland's first recruiting class for the Bulldogs finished on a down note but had an impressive run building the program. Mississippi State went to the semifinals of the NIT last year and made the tournament for the first time since 2009 this year.

UP NEXT

Liberty advances to play the winner of the game between Virginia Tech and Saint Louis.

Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Wizards analysts Drew Gooden and Jimmy Patsos for a chance at great prizes.

Grand Prize: if you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win a 3-night trip for four people to Universal Resort, including round trip airfare, lodging, admission to Universal Studios and tickets to Blue Man Group.

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Advice for Gardner-Webb fans from the man behind the UMBC Twitter account

Advice for Gardner-Webb fans from the man behind the UMBC Twitter account

This morning's Fresh Take comes from UMBC social media guru Zach Seidel, who captured the internet's hearts when the Retrievers upset Virginia last year.

One of the best things about social media is that it allows fans to interact with their favorite teams and players.

At first, teams used the medium as another way to send out press releases and statements, but over the past few years, many teams/programs have realized the value of using the interactive space as way to show personality and their inner fan. The LA Kings really started the trend during their first Stanley Cup run in 2012, the Colorado Rockies and Vegas Golden Knights have taken it to a whole other level, while the entire NBA is so ingrained in Twitter that #NBATwitter is its own sub-culture of social media. 

During UMBC’s NCAA Tournament run last year, the Twitter account went from 5,400 followers at tip-off of the first game on Friday night, to 111,000 followers by Monday morning. So, if you happen to be running a social media account when your team pulls an upset (though will anyone ever really be better than that one?), here are my tips:

1. Have Fun With It: People love it when famous people are “just like them”, same goes for athletes and teams. Just show some emotion in your tweets, acknowledge the pressure of the moment, make some jokes and answer some questions people ask.

2. Know Your Institution: The game is essentially an infomercial for your school, people are going to want to learn all about the place, so make sure you know important facts about the school to put out there. A key players major, maybe how great of a program that is at your school. Maybe a player is from out-of-state, mention out of state enrollment numbers, etc...It’s your moment to weave information and the game to best promote.

3. Celebrate, But Don’t Hate: People like underdogs, but don’t like arrogant winners. Make sure to celebrate your victory, but never put down the opponent. You can mention the win, but don’t say the other team lost, played poorly, or a certain player was bad. Keep all the focus on your program. Be gracious in victory and don’t “troll” opposing fan base/team/players, that will just turn people off from your school. 

In case you're too excited to listen to my very simple rules, here's a few that will always work:

1. Brb getting fitted for our glass slipper
2. Another 1 bites the dust

Virginia, in case you were wondering, tips off at 3:10 PM ET against 16-seed Gardner Webb. While we didn't make it back to the big dance, we will  always have a few shining moments to look back at on Twitter (and, you know, in NCAA tournament history).

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