BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — When Virginia Tech lost Chris Clarke for the season with a knee injury, it lost its best passer, its best rebounder, and one of its top scorers.
Not a problem for the Hokies.
Ty Outlaw, seeing the bulk of the minutes in Clarke’s absence, continued his stellar play with a career-high 24 points to lead Virginia Tech to a 66-61 win over No. 25 Miami on Monday night.
Outlaw, averaging 5.0 points per game, set a school record with eight 3-pointers to help the Hokies (21-8, 10-7 ACC) get their third straight win, fifth in the last six, and 15th in 16 home games.
Outlaw is averaging 14 points per game and shooting 69 percent from the floor in Clarke’s absence.
“We’re deep into the season, and I’m getting more minutes,” Outlaw said. “It’s a rhythm thing. That’s why they recruited me to come here — because I can shoot. My team has confidence in me. I don’t see why I wouldn’t make 8 for 10.”
Miami (20-9, 10-7), which entered The Associated Press’ Top 25 earlier in the day for the first time this season, led 50-48 with just under seven minutes to go, but the Hokies went on a 12-4 run to take the lead for good.
Virginia Tech scored on five straight possessions, with the final five points coming on a 3-pointer by Outlaw and a dunk by Zach LeDay that gave the Hokies a 60-54 lead with 2:11 remaining. Virginia Tech then made 6 of 8 from the free-throw line in the final 1:05 to hold off the Hurricanes.
Outlaw hit 8 of 11 from the floor for Virginia Tech, which shot 51.4 percent (19 of 37) and hit 10 3-pointers.
“He’s a good player, isn’t he?” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I like guys that can do multiple things. At this level, you have to be elite in some category. Obviously, he’s elite as a shooter.”
Anthony Lawrence led Miami with 18 points.
“We didn’t want to put them on the foul line, or we didn’t want to give them a chance to get double-digits in making 3’s,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “The last time we played them (a 74-68 Miami win), they only made four, and tonight they made 10. That’s the difference in the game.”
Miami: The Hurricanes still are in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament. There is no shame in losing in Blacksburg — and they only lost because the Hokies got a career night from one of their unheralded players.
Virginia Tech: Like Miami, the Hokies are in good shape to make the NCAA Tournament and will be a tough out for their opponents with the way they can shoot the 3. Virginia Tech has made at least 10 3-pointers in five straight games.
Whether Miami stays in the poll probably hinges on how it performs against in-state rival Florida State on Saturday. The Hokies, who are receiving votes, could get back in the poll with a win in their regular-season finale against Wake Forest. Virginia Tech was in the poll in early January following a win over then-No. 5 Duke.
Virginia Tech beat a ranked foe for the third time this season. That marks the second time in school history that the Hokies have beaten three ranked foes in a season.
Miami: Miami closes the regular season Saturday with a road game at Florida State. The Hurricanes are looking to avenge an 18-point home loss to the Seminoles on Feb. 1.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies close the regular season with a home game against Wake Forest on Saturday. Virginia Tech has beaten the Demon Deacons three straight times by a combined 10 points.