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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Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

Mike Locksley and Terrapins coaching staff try to keep team together during coronavirus pandemic

No spring football games, no practices, no recruiting visits, and believe it or not, less time in the day.  

That is the current reality for Maryland’s head football coach, Mike Locksley. Not the easiest of circumstances to try and run a rebuilding football program in the Big 10. 
 
“Man, it’s been tough. I usually get up and get a little work out in. I’ve got an in-home gym where I can just do something to get moving,” Locksley said. “I’m kind of like a kid where if I get off schedule, I’m not very good… I get up, I get dressed. I don’t play around in my pajamas or shorts and a t-shirt.” 

Technically, the team has been on spring break this week, so there would have been no meetings in this first full week of quarantine.  But the staff has been busier than ever preparing for what life will look like when online classes begin on Monday. That is when the coaching staff will try to create some form of normalcy for their players.   

“We get eight hours a week to virtually meet with our players, so we’re working hard on developing the football intelligence that it takes using all the technology we have,” Locksley said.  

In normal times, only two hours a week would be allowed for film work or walkthroughs. The other six would be focused on strength training. These are far from normal times so this is where accountability comes into play. What they do now will pay off during the Big 10 season in the fall.   

“I think this is where you’ll see the biggest strides in the game for our programs, what these guys do when nobody is around and nobody is watching them,” Locksley said. “We always talk about being the best version of yourself and this gives our players the opportunity to do that without coaches there.”  

But it certainly makes it challenging to evaluate and develop players on a team that has much to improve upon finishing last season 3-9.  All 15 spring practices have been canceled, but Locksley says the Terrapins are focused on finding solutions for when the team is allowed back together, not excuses.  

“There’s no substitute for being able to go out and practice and if we can’t physically develop them, we need to mentally develop them,” Locksley said. “A lot of football success is about making the right decisions. That’s where teaching, the installs, and the mental conditioning will help develop our team.”  

So how do you get everyone in alignment during a time of pandemic?  First off, by staying up to date as best you can while staying home.   

“It makes you have to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Locksley said with a chuckle. “I had never heard of a Zoom meeting until about a week ago.” 

Few of us had! Of course we’re all well aware now. Working from home has become the new norm and that was the way this interview was conducted. And it will play an even bigger role as Locksley and his staff look to continue the recruiting process for the class of 2021.   

Fortunately, most recruits had already visited campus before school was shut down, but coaches are now using FaceTime, making countless phone calls, and using social media to connect with prospective future Terps. The coaching staff meets via video conference every day at 10:30 a.m., position coaches check in with their players daily and the staff reconvenes in the afternoon for updates.  

It’s a time none of us could have expected and no one can predict when it will end. But there’s still work to be done.   

“It’s about finding ways to improve yourself, not use this as an excuse for what’s to come,” Locksley said. “I think the strides we make now will determine what happens in the fall - if we are able to play football.” 

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DMV native Jeff Green 'feels bad' for players unable to shine in 2020 NCAA tournament

DMV native Jeff Green 'feels bad' for players unable to shine in 2020 NCAA tournament

The NBA and NHL were suspended mid-season, Major League Baseball's start is postponed and among several more cancellations and suspensions in the sports world is the NCAA tournament. 

The NCAA canceled their national tournament nearly two weeks ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, taking away 67 games of March Madness action. 

In those 67 games are typically countless opportunities for the nation's top players to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Not only that, but mid-major stars who are rarely heard of throughout the season have a chance to vault themselves into national stardom. 

Those are the players, Houston Rockets forward and Cheverly, MD native Jeff Green feels for the most. 

"I feel bad for the kids," Green said to Chris Miller on the Wizards Talk Podcast. "The kids that shine through this tournament that have never been acknowledged through their career. There's always a handful of kids that stick out like, 'Oh man, I've never watched him play.'

"I look at CJ McCollum, who made his name at the tournament," he said. "It's kids like that I wish had the opportunity because this is what they live for."

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW BELOW

McCollum was a superstar at Lehigh, a small program in Pennsylvania, but he truly made a name for himself by scoring 26 points as a freshman against Kansas in the 2010 tournament. 

Players like McCollum, as well as seniors like Maryland's Anthony Cowan Jr. and breakout stars such as Obi Toppin won't be able to show the world how good they are.

The impact on the 2020 NBA Daft remains to be seen. It's unclear how much weight scouts put into the tournament versus their own private workouts and combine interviews, but how many players will teams miss out on without the benefit of a tournament consisting of so many high-pressure scenarios?

Again, it remains to be seen, and that's Green's point. Those unknown mid-major starts will be challenged to get noticed before the draft. 

"It sucks because now [the players] don't know what to do because the opportunity is gone," he said. 

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