Miami Hurricanes

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Miami lands Florida grad-transfer Keith Stone

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Keith Stone is leaving the SEC but not the state of Florida.

The former Gator will finish his career at Miami as a graduate transfer, he announced Monday via social media.

The 6-foot-8 Stone is from Deerfield, Fla., less than an hour’s ride from Miami Beach. He averaged 6.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season before tearing his ACL in January. With Dewan Hernandez, Ebuka Izundu, and Anthony Lawrence all gone from the Canes, Stone could be in line for a major role right from the jump if his knee gets back to full strength.

Miami went 14-18 last season to finish under .500 for the first time in Jim Larranaga’s eight seasons, and it was just the second time the Canes failed to win at least 20 games.

Blackshear, No. 16 Virginia Tech beat Miami 71-56 in ACCs

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Ty Outlaw and No. 16 Virginia Tech got a quick offensive start. The Hokies didn’t need a whole lot more to advance in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.

Outlaw hit three 3-pointers during the Hokies’ game-opening 11-point run and they never trailed in beating Miami 71-56 on Wednesday in the second round.

Kerry Blackshear had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Hokies (24-7). They ran out to a 20-point lead before halftime, then turned away Miami’s last serious push early in the second half with a 20-5 run that drove the margin past 20 again.

“When you have teammates like ours, it makes the game a lot easier from the start, whether we’re hitting or not, because everybody is a threat,” Blackshear said. “We know that when somebody is hot, that’s the person we’re going to find.

“We know that each person is going to make the right basketball play for our team, whether that be taking their own shot, finding somebody else, setting a screen, anything like that.”

The numbers sure looked good for Virginia Tech, which shot 50 percent and made 11 of 27 3-pointers to beat the 12th-seeded Hurricanes for a third time this season — all by double-figure margins.

Virginia Tech twice made at least five straight shots during the game.

“They move the ball extremely fast to basically four guards on the perimeter and a big guy who can really handle,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “All five guys shoot the 3. They spread you out.

“Their touches — where it’s in your hand and out of your hand without dribbling — gives them a chance to get open shots. The defense can’t move as fast as the ball can.”

Chris Lykes scored 19 points for Miami (14-18) which never gave itself much of a chance by falling behind big from the jump and shooting just 34 percent.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes’ first-round win against Wake Forest on Tuesday ensured they would win at least one game in the ACC Tournament in seven of Larranaga’s eight seasons as coach. That turned out to be the only highlight in a two-day stay in Charlotte at the end of a frustrating season, which included never having 6-foot-11 forward Dewan Hernandez — who was ruled ineligible by the NCAA because of his dealings with an agent and ultimately left school to pursue a professional career. Larranaga has his first losing season since going 9-18 in his first year at George Mason in 1997-98, and he had won at least 20 games in six of his first seven seasons with the Hurricanes.

“It was very, very challenging to have only seven scholarship players available to us,” Larranaga said. “It was very hard to prepare and practice properly. Because, amongst those seven players, they were dealing with injuries.”

Virginia Tech: The Hokies won’t have point guard Justin Robinson for the ACC Tournament as he continues to deal with a foot injury that has sidelined him since late January. That wasn’t a problem in their tournament debut.

LYKES’ INJURY

The 5-7 Lykes, Miami’s leading scorer at 16.2 points, was helped off after he suffered a right-ankle injury when landing on a layup with 3:24 left. Larranaga said afterward that Lykes was getting an X-ray.

Larranaga said he was “hoping it’s not bad, but I’m not optimistic.”

OUTLAW’S START

Outlaw scored all 14 of his points in the first half, including the three 3s in the first 4 1/2 minutes in a sign of how Outlaw says he’s “ready to shoot whenever (teammates kick it out.”

“If he has space and he has 10 toes to the rim, I think he’s an elite level shooter,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said.

RUN IT BACK

Virginia Tech closed the regular season with a loss at Florida State followed by a home win against Miami. Now, after beating the Hurricanes, they’re playing the Seminoles again.

“It’s strange, right?” Williams said. “We’re living last week in reverse this week.”

UP NEXT

The Hokies will face 12th-ranked and fourth-seeded Florida State in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Alexander-Walker leads No. 15 Virginia Tech past Miami

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BLACKSBURG, Va. — In a pregame ceremony, the Virginia Tech recognized three seniors who arguably changed the fortunes of the program. Then, a sophomore stole the show.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and No. 15 Virginia Tech beat Miami 84-70 on Friday night to tie the school record for regular-season victories with 23.

Playing mostly at the point guard position, Alexander-Walker was 6 of 14 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hokies (23-7, 12-6 Atlantic Coast Conference). The sophomore also tied his career high with eight assists.

“It was all about our seniors,” Alexander-Walker said. “The fact that I could be there for them was huge.”

Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw had strong performances in their last home game for the Hokies. Outlaw scored 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and Hill added 17 points and connected on five 3s as well.

Ebuka Izundu and Chris Lykes had 16 points each for Miami (13-16, 5-13).

In addition to celebrating its seniors, Virginia Tech celebrated doing something that only one other team in school history had done — win 23 games in a regular season. The 2009-10 team won 23 games, but a soft nonconference schedule relegated that team to the NIT.

“In year No. 1 (2014-15), we won 11 percent of our ACC games, and after tonight, we’ve won at a 67-percent clip when 10 of those games — five were played with seven guys in uniform and the other five were played with eight guys in uniform,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I think it’s off the chart.”

Virginia Tech trailed 16-8 before the Hokies found their shooting stroke and buried Miami, outscoring the ‘Canes 32-6 over a span of nearly nine minutes. The Hokies hit six of their nine first-half 3-pointers during that stretch and scored on 13 of 15 possessions.

In the second half, Miami sliced a 45-31 halftime deficit to 11 on a 3-pointer by Zach Johnson, but the Hokies answered with a 14-4 run. Wabissa Bede’s left-handed layup with 12:38 remaining pushed the lead to 61-40.

“The group I started in the second half has never played a second together,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We were just looking for something that might create some mismatches for them. It kept us inching closer … but then again we made some critical errors and missing some shots. We needed up not shooting the ball well from 3, and if we don’t shoot the ball well from 3, we’re going to have a hard time of winning.”

Virginia Tech shot 49.2 percent from the floor (29 of 59) and hit 14 3-pointers.

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies basically played their 10th straight game without point guard Justin Robinson, who has been out with an injured foot. Williams ceremoniously started Robinson in his final home. Kerry Blackshear Jr. took the opening tip and tipped it out of bounds, allowing Williams to substitute for Robinson, whom the Hokies hope to get back at some point this season. Robinson was averaging 14.4 points and 5.5 assists before the injury.

Miami: Lykes came into the game averaging 16.2 points per game and ranking in the top 10 in the ACC in scoring — and he finished right on that average. But the sophomore struggled from the floor against the Hokies, hitting just 5 of 15. He missed his first seven 3-point attempts, which was emblematic of Miami’s struggles from the perimeter. The ‘Canes made just six of their 29 3-point attempts.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Virginia Tech lost to Florida State in overtime on Tuesday in Tallahassee, Florida, which certainly is no shame considering the Seminoles’ No. 14 ranking. So the Hokies figure to stay at or near No. 15 in next Monday’s poll.

UP NEXT

ACC Tournament in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Barrett, Reddish lead No. 3 Duke past Miami, 87-57

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DURHAM, N.C. — Jack White took the pass from Tre Jones in the left corner, squared to the basket and launched a 3-pointer.

Unlike the previous 28 he shot, this one went in.

His slump is over, and now No. 3 Duke hopes its slide is, too.

The Blue Devils routed Miami 87-57 on Saturday behind 19 points and 10 rebounds from RJ Barrett and 19 points from fellow freshman Cameron Reddish.

With national player of the year candidate Zion Williamson sidelined for a third straight game with a mild right knee sprain, Duke (25-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed and shot 57 percent to bounce back from its second loss in three games — which coincided with Williamson’s injury.

“Everyone plays their part in the team and does their thing, but our focus right now is to get Zion healthy and get everyone healthy and feeling good,” White said. “Just trying to have everyone playing their best basketball by that point. But you know, it’s not just about me — it’s a team effort.”

White’s struggles from 3-point range had taken on a life of their own. He hadn’t hit one since Jan. 12 at Florida State, was 0 for 10 in a loss to Syracuse two nights after that and missed all 12 he attempted in the month of February.

“I haven’t gone through a stretch like that before in my life,” said White, who went 3 for 3 from 3-point range. “Towards the latter end of it, it was more surprising than anything when I’d miss because I’d felt good and I was like, `Why?”

When he finally swished one with 12:34 left in the first half against the Hurricanes, Cameron Indoor Stadium erupted with arguably its loudest cheers of the season and the Crazies chanted “Jack is back.”

“I was really happy for him,” Barrett said, “but I had to get back on defense.”

It wasn’t just a feel-good moment for White and the Blue Devils. It started the run that completely overwhelmed the Hurricanes. Starting with that shot, Duke outscored Miami 36-11 over the final 12-plus minutes of the half.

Chris Lykes, who scored in double figures in 24 of Miami’s previous 27 games, finished with four points on 1-of-15 shooting while being hounded by Jones. The Hurricanes trailed by 25 when he hit his only bucket.

Anthony Lawrence and Ebuka Izundu scored 15 points each for the Hurricanes (12-16, 4-12). They have lost nine of 12 and haven’t won a road game in more than 12 months.

“For the first time all season, I thought our emotions were maybe a little bit out of control,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “We couldn’t calm ourselves down to make a free throw or a shot or make a good pass or good decision.”

BIG PICTURE

Miami: Asking the depleted Hurricanes to snap their yearlong road losing streak at Cameron seemed like a tall order — even against a Duke team missing its headliner. Miami fell to 0-9 on the road this season, 0-8 in the conference and were playing four days after blowing a 10-point lead in the final 2 minutes of a loss at Wake Forest. It’s effectively come to this for the Hurricanes — either win at Virginia Tech next week, or carry their road slide into 2019-20.

Duke: Barrett averages an ACC-best 23.3 points, has led the league in scoring virtually all season and has shouldered the scoring load in Williamson’s absence. Barrett entered averaging 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 51 percent, and with his godfather — two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash — sitting behind the Duke bench, he finished three assists shy of his second triple-double in two weeks.

“With Zion being out, everybody kind of gets the ball more, everybody has to make more plays,” Barrett said.

ZION WATCH

Coach Mike Krzyzewski says there is “no time pressure” on Williamson, adding that the star freshman and second-leading scorer in the ACC “hasn’t done anything with contact” since he was injured in the opening minute of a loss to North Carolina on Feb. 21. “We’re not in any hurry or whatever,” Krzyzewski said.

No. 8 Tar Heels hold off Hurricanes 88-85 in overtime

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Kenny Williams hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:08 left in overtime to help eighth-ranked North Carolina hold off Miami 88-85 on Saturday.

Freshman Coby White matched his season high with 33 points for the Tar Heels (19-4, 9-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who survived a wild finish filled with big shots by both teams. UNC forced overtime on Luke Maye’s 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left, then got two critical free throws from Cameron Johnson with 12.3 seconds left in the extra period to cling to a three-point lead.

Miami had a final chance to tie it after a timeout, but White poked the ball loose from Chris Lykes, and Williams dove on the floor to recover the ball for a game-sealing turnover.

Lykes had his own huge game for the Hurricanes (10-13, 2-9), scoring 19 of his 27 points with five 3-pointers after halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: It’s been a rough season for the Hurricanes, who won just once in January. That included an 85-76 home loss to the Tar Heels in a game that was tied at halftime. They seemingly couldn’t miss after halftime in this one, hitting 12 of their 14 3-pointers after halftime while shooting 57 percent in the second half alone. But in the end, the Hurricanes fell to 0-7 against ranked teams this season.

UNC: The Tar Heels have been rolling along since a lopsided home loss to Louisville on Jan. 12, winning the last four games in their six-game winning streak by double-digit margins. That included going for 113 points in Tuesday’s win against rival North Carolina State, which was UNC’s best output in a league game in more than 15 years. Things were bumpy for much of Saturday, though the Tar Heels now have their first 9-1 start in ACC play in 16 seasons under Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams.

No. 3 Virginia clamps down again, beats Miami 56-46

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Virginia was sloppy at times for the second game in a row. The way they play defense, the No. 3 Cavaliers have some room for error.

De’Andre Hunter scored 14 points, Mamadi Diakite had 11 points and three blocks, and the Cavaliers locked down on defense again to beat Miami 56-46 on Saturday. Kyle Guy added 10 points on just 4-for-15 shooting for the Cavaliers (20-1, 8-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who played without point guard and third-leading scorer Ty Jerome because of a sore back.

“It felt a little off,” Guy said of playing without Jerome, “but I think it was a good test for our guys to try to fight through that.”

Virginia had 14 turnovers one game after having 16 in an overtime victory against North Carolina State.

“We were unsound the last two games,” coach Tony Bennett said, “and of course Ty helps us with that and his absence certainly showed. It was invaluable experience for all our guys to play in that.”

Chris Lykes scored 16 points to lead the Hurricanes (9-12, 1-8), who lost their fifth in a row. Zach Johnson and Sam Waardenburg each added 10, but Miami became the ninth team held below 50 points by the Cavaliers this season. The Hurricanes entered averaging 74.4 points per game, and, Bennett said, “missed an awful lot of wide-open looks.”

Virginia used a 9-0 run in the first half to take an 18-11 lead and never trailed again. The Cavaliers built the lead to 13 but had trouble gaining more separation as they shot just 42.3 percent (22 of 52).

“We did a pretty good job defensively. We were just not able to make, I think, some very makeable shots,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. “I always tell the team (when) you play Virginia, it’s the first team to 50 that wins, and they got to 50 before we did.”

REJECTION

Diakite now has 11 blocks in his past three games. Braxton Key added two blocks and Hunter had one for the Cavaliers.

“I am just trying to have fun there,” Diakite said. “I just like having fun blocking shots when I have a window.”

Several of Virginia’s blocks came close to the rim.

“Diakite and Hunter took away layups,” Larranaga said.

BIG PICTURE

Miami: The Hurricanes’ No. 3 scorer, Anthony Lawrence, was 0 for 7 from the field and scored just two points while their No. 4 scorer, Dejan Vasiljevic, was 0 for 3 and did not score. Miami shot 34 percent (17 of 50) from the field and 19 percent (4 of 21) from 3-point range.

Virginia: Freshman Kihei Clark played almost the entire game in place of Jerome and led the Cavaliers with six assists but also committed six turnovers. Virginia turned the ball twice as often as Miami, but still managed to outscore the Hurricanes 8-4 off those takeaways.

UP NEXT

Miami: The Hurricanes return home and face Notre Dame on Wednesday night.

Virginia: The Cavaliers have the next two days off and will face No 2 Duke next Saturday at home.

More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://www.twitter.com/AP-Top25