Georgia Tech guard Mfon Udofia, left, works against Miami guard Shane Larkin during the first half of Thursday's ACC Tournament game.
ATLANTA — Rion Brown sparked Miami from its offensive woes with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the Hurricanes ripped off an 18-0 run to bury woeful Georgia Tech 54-36 Thursday in the opening round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Georgia Tech ended a dismal first season under coach Brian Gregory with its lowest-scoring game ever in the tournament. Also, it was easily the worst offensive showing by any team in the tournament during the shot-clock era.
Miami (19-11) wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, shooting just 33 percent. Shane Larkin was their top scorer with a mere 12 points, while Durand Scott added 11 and Brown had 10.
But the Yellow Jackets (11-20) were downright abysmal. They finished with their lowest-scoring game since a 38-36 loss to Auburn on Feb. 7, 1961. It was the third time this season Georgia Tech was held below 40 points at Philips Arena, its temporary home while the campus arena undergoes renovations.
This was the worst one yet.
Mdon Udofia scored 13 points, Brandon Reed chipped in with 11 — and no one else had more than five. Georgia Tech made 14 of 44 shots (32 percent) and turned it over 20 times.
Both teams struggled through the opening half, combining to make 14-of-51 shots from the field and coughing up the ball 15 times. That played into the hands of Georgia Tech, which came in with the ACC’s second-worst offense at just 61 points a game. The Yellow Jackets actually went to the locker room with a 20-19 lead, glad to hunker down and make every possession a challenge.
But the Hurricanes finally woke up, going ahead for good when Larkin led a fast break and passed off to Brown, who spotted up for a 3 that made it 29-27. The next time down, Larkin found Brown open again behind the arc for another trey. Another swish. The Hurricanes never let up from there.
Miami advanced to face its state rival, No. 17 Florida State, in Friday’s quarterfinals. The sixth-seeded Hurricanes are hoping to push their way into NCAA consideration with an impressive showing in Atlanta.
This didn’t qualify as impressive, but at least it was a win.
Virginia Tech clips Clemson
ATLANTA — Seth Greenberg called starting guards Erick Green and Dorenzo Hudson the heartbeat of his Virginia Tech team.
In a mild upset, the Hokies still have a heartbeat in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Green scored 24 points and the Hokies, who took the lead with a 9-0 run, beat Clemson 68-63 on Thursday night in the first round of the ACC tournament.
Hudson added 19 points for Virginia Tech, which lost its last four games of the regular season.
The Hokies’ starting guards combined to make five 3-pointers and 12 of 12 free throws.
“You could see it in their eyes,” Greenberg said. “These two guys were the heartbeat of the team.”
There were 10 ties, the last at 52-52. Clemson, the No. 7 seed, then went about 3 minutes without scoring as Virginia Tech, the No. 10 seed, took the lead.
“We talked to them all week about finishing and making just one more play,” Greenberg said.
The Hokies (16-16) will play No. 2 seed Duke in Friday night’s quarterfinals.
Greenberg said his team was prepared for the close finish. It was the 13th ACC game decided by no more than five points for the Hokies this season. Virginia Tech was only 4-12 in the ACC in the regular season.
“We haven’t practiced special ends to the game, we’re just lived it,” Greenberg said.
Free throws were the difference. Virginia Tech made 17 of 20 and Clemson (16-15) made only 9 of 15, including 3 of 7 in the final 1:17.
“This is really disappointing because I think we thought we could come here and do a little better,” said Clemson coach Brad Brownell.
Clemson’s Milton Jennings hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to cut the Hokies’ lead to 68-63. After Hudson made two free throws for Virginia Tech, the Tigers couldn’t make another 3.
Freshman Devin Coleman led Clemson with a career-high 15 points, his first game scoring in double figures.
“I didn’t really pay too much attention to the stage,” said Coleman of his first postseason game. “I just wanted to go out there and play hard and make plays to win the game.”
Jennings and former Deerfield star Andre Young each had 13. Tanner Smith had 12.
Green provided the assist on Hudson’s 3-pointer that snapped a 52-52 tie. Green’s 3-pointer with 3:50 remaining pushed the lead to 58-52.
“We’re roommates, so we both talked about it coming down to the end,” Green said.
“We finished. I’m really proud of that.”
Following a flagrant one foul against Booker, Cadarian Raines sank a free throw to push the lead to seven points.
Dorian Finney-Smith drove for a lay-up with 2:23 remaining, pushing the lead to 61-52.
Booker ended Clemson’s drought with a jam with 2:04 remaining.
Green leads Virginia Tech with his average of 15.3 points per game. He posted his first game with at least 20 points since he had 21 against Florida State on Jan. 10.
“Erick Green, I thought, was really the difference in the game,” Brownell said. “He played with great composure, made good shots, did a pretty good job defensively, and I thought just kind of controlled things throughout the game.”
The teams added another chapter to their history of close games, including a split of two two-point decisions in the regular season. Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC before the 2004-05 season, 11 of 13 games between the teams has been decided by no more than five points.
There were 11 lead changes in the game.
Virginia Tech senior forward Victor Davila, who missed the last six games of the regular season with a left groin and leg injury, did not play. Davila started 25 games this season, averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds.