BLACKSBURG, Va. – Miami and Virginia Tech played 15 extra minutes of basketball Wednesday night.
For the Hurricanes, the effort was certainly worth it.
Kameron McGusty scored five of his 21 points in the third overtime to lead Miami to a 102-95 triple-overtime victory over the Hokies in the longest Atlantic Coast Conference game in 17 years.
Isaiah Wong added a career-high 27 points, and Chris Lykes finished with 23 for the ’Canes (14-12, 6-10 ACC), who played in the first triple overtime game in school history.
“Very happy and grateful that we were able to pull it out,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said. “We’ve now won three in a row. This is the healthiest we’ve been since Dec. 31 when we played at Clemson and won on the road there.”
The game marked the longest ACC game since Dec. 20, 2003 when a Chris Paul-led Wake Forest team won 119-114 in triple overtime over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Tyrece Radford paced the Hokies (15-11 6-9) with a career-high 26 points.
Virginia Tech had a great chance to win the game in regulation, grabbing a 77-74 lead after Jalen Cone made the second of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining. But McGusty tied the game when he scored on a layup, and the Hokies’ Radford fouled him with five seconds to go. McGusty made the free throw to tie the game at 77, and Radford’s shot at the buzzer was blocked by Keith Stone, sending the game into overtime.
In the third overtime, McGusty hit one of two free-throw attempts with 3:29 left to give Miami a 93-90 lead. Moments later, he scored back-to-back baskets, pushing the Miami lead to 98-92 with 56 seconds to go. Lykes layup with 20 seconds remaining, and Wong’s two free throws with 10 seconds left enabled the ’Canes to hold off the Hokies.
“They give us everything they have in their tank every time they go on the floor,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said of his team. “We just didn’t have that pop in the first half, and Miami was good. Miami is good. They’re playing good basketball. Hard to keep them out of the lane. … We bounced back in the second half, and we competed. I thought we were very, very good in a number of areas. I can’t ask any more. I just hate to lose that. Hate to lose it.”
Wong’s two free throws capped an outstanding night at the free-throw line for Miami, which connected on 29 of 32 attempts.
Miami: The ’Canes lost five of six games in a recent stretch, but are finally healthy, and with all the parts in all the proper places, they’re playing much better. The ’Canes opened the first of three consecutive games on the road in perfect fashion with a triple-overtime victory over the Hokies, and with four regular-season games remaining, they could convert a late-season run into a postseason bid.
Virginia Tech: After a 5-3 start to ACC play, the Hokies are struggling with a young roster that features six freshmen who see significant minutes. They have lost five of their past six games and now face the beef of their schedule with games at No. 6 Duke, vs. Virginia and at No. 11 Louisville.
WONG ON POINT
Larranaga made a key move late in the end of regulation when he moved Wong to point guard after Lykes picked up his fourth foul. After that move, the freshman scored 11 consecutive points for Miami, including all seven in a 7-0 run to helped the ’Canes erase a five-point deficit with 3:38 remaining. Wong scored eight of those 11 points at the free-throw line and went 14 of 14 from the line for the game. He stayed at the point guard position for all three overtimes.
“It was just playing within the system, just creating for players and trying to get other players to score,” Wong said of his mindset. “We were trying to play defense as a team, and I was trying to get everybody involved (on offense).”
Four players finished with double-doubles in the game. In addition to scoring 27 points, Wong set a career-high with 12 rebounds, and Stone added 12 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. For the Hokies, Radford grabbed 12 boards to go with his 26 points, while Landers Nolley II finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.