CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Nickeil Alexander-Walker tied a season high with 25 points and added a spectacular assist as No. 12 Virginia Tech shot 59 percent to beat Miami 82-70 on Wednesday night.
Justin Robinson scored 17 points for the Hokies but appeared to hurt his left leg and limped to the locker room midway through the second half. He watched the final minutes from the bench.
Virginia Tech (17-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) closed within one game of the league lead. The Hurricanes (9-11, 1-7) lost their fourth in a row and are off to their worst start in conference play since 1993-94, when they went 0-18 in the Big East.
There were nine early lead changes, but Tech went ahead for good thanks to a 10-0 run midway through the first half.
The Hokies forced three turnovers with full-court pressure to spark an 11-3 surge in the first 2:19 after halftime. The spurt included a creative alley-oop assist on a fast break by Alexander-Walker, who flipped the pass straight up as a trailing Robinson leaped for the catch and dunk.
Alexander-Walker shot 11 of 17, including 3 for 7 from beyond the arc, and added five assists and four rebounds in 39 minutes. Ahmed Hill had 19 points in 40 minutes.
The Hokies forced 17 turnovers, which led to 22 points. Transition baskets helped them outscore Miami 32-16 in the paint.
It was Miami’s first game since the NCAA ruled junior forward Dewan Hernandez must sit out the remainder of the season because of his dealings with an agent. Hernandez said he’s withdrawing from school and will turn pro.
Hurricanes guard Chris Lykes, who missed all 12 shots in their last game, had 19 points but also five turnovers.
The Hurricanes fell to 0-5 against ranked teams. They’re 19-40 versus ranked teams under coach Jim Larranaga.
Virginia Tech improved to 5-11 at Miami.