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Virginia Tech wallops No. 23 Miami

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By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 15, 2010

BLACKSBURG, VA. -- Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg often tells his players to view the season as a series of separate entities. Games from the past and those in the future are to be ignored, for better or worse.

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After a loss at North Carolina on Sunday, the Hokies left no doubt that they received the message in an 81-66 thrashing of No. 23 Miami here Wednesday night.

"We had to win," guard Malcolm Delaney said. "This is one of those games we had to prove a point."

Virginia Tech made a statement in the first half, running off to a 50-23 lead. It was the Hokies' largest halftime lead in an Atlantic Coast Conference game; they joined the league before the 2004-05 season. Although Miami narrowed the margin in the second half, the Hokies slowed down offensively and slacked on defense with a large lead.

Virginia Tech (13-2, 1-1 ACC) got a win it needed to have as it opened its ACC schedule this week with three ranked opponents.

After an easy nonconference schedule, Virginia Tech had to host the surging Hurricanes (15-2, 1-2) in the middle of a week that featured the loss at the No. 12 Tar Heels and a trip to play at No. 25 Florida State (13-4, 1-2) on Saturday.

Although Miami had played one of the nation's weakest nonconference schedules, the Hurricanes were off to their best start since the 1959-60 season, had a seven-game win streak and recently cracked the Associated Press rankings.

But by the end of Wednesday night's game, Virginia Tech fans chanted "Overrated!" in the closing minutes of the Hokies' victory.

"The ACC is a good league," said Delaney, who led the Hokies with 28 points and nine assists. "We couldn't get caught up in the last game."

If the Hokies were still thinking about the defeat to the Tar Heels, it did not show. Virginia Tech played its most dominant basketball of the season to start the night. The gaudy first-half numbers told the story.

Virginia Tech stymied Miami with tenacious interior defense and held its hot-shooting guards to 2 for 10 on three-point attempts. The Hurricanes went scoreless from the field for 8 minutes 41 seconds during a stretch in the first half.

The Hokies opening a 35-point lead with 2:17 remaining in the half. They shot 62.1 percent from the field, including 77.8 from three-point range on 7-for-9 shooting.

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