- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) - The Miami Hurricanes came from behind on the scoreboard and in the standings Wednesday night.

No. 11 Miami overcame a seven-point first-half deficit and forged a tie for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference by beating Virginia Tech 65-49.

Miami (21-4, 10-3) pulled even in the league race with No. 5 North Carolina, which lost 74-73 to No. 20 Duke. The Hurricanes, who play at North Carolina on Saturday, learned shortly after their game that they shared the ACC lead.

“We were just informed,” guard Davon Reed said. “That’s great news. We’ve got to take care of business Saturday. We’ve been looking forward to playing them.”

Miami takes a five-game winning streak into its toughest stretch of the season, playing four consecutive ranked teams in a 12-day stretch.

The Hurricanes said they didn’t look past Virginia Tech (13-13, 5-8). The Hokies took an early 21-14 lead but shot a season-low 29.6 percent.

A 14-2 surge to start the second half put the Hurricanes ahead 35-24. The Hokies went without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the half and finished 16 for 54.

“It was just a weird game,” Reed said. “They’re a different style - scrappy. But in the second half, defense created offense for us.”

The Hokies had their worst shooting effort of the season for the second game in a row, and their point total tied a season low. Miami, meanwhile, shot 68 percent in the second half and outscored the Hokies 44-27 while totaling 26 points in the paint.

“We couldn’t guard them, no matter what we tried,” Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “We couldn’t keep them out of the paint off penetration nor off the pass.”

Sheldon McClellan, Miami’s leading scorer this season, played only 24 minutes because of foul trouble. His first field goal came more than three minutes into the second half, and he finished with 11 points.

Tech’s leading scorers this season, Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, also had foul problems. LeDay scored six points and Allen five, and they shot a combined 3 for 15.

Tech’s starters shot 7 for 33 (21 percent), and Williams said the Hurricanes’ defense was a big reason.

“I always want to give credit to the opponents,” he said. “They were good.”

Reserve Justin Robinson scored 12 points for the Hokies.

Angel Rodriguez had 14 points in 39 minutes for the Hurricanes, and Reed added 12 points.

Miami shot 30 percent in the first half but trailed only 22-21 because Tech shot 29 percent. The Hurricanes scored on the first shot of the second half to take the lead for good.

“To start the game, it was very easy to launch a 3, and we fell into that trap,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “In the second half we threw the ball inside.”

The sedate atmosphere also may have contributed to the Hurricanes’ lackluster early play. Although Miami’s home games are sold out for the season, the 8,000-seat arena was only half-full.

AILING GUARD

Miami reserve Ja’Quan Newton missed the game because of an unspecified medical condition.

“He’ll be fine,” teammate Kamari Murphy said. “He’ll be back with us shortly.”

TIP-INS

Virginia Tech: The Hokies’ reserves outscored Miami’s backups 25-11.

Miami: The Hurricanes improved to 7-0 at home in the ACC.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech hosts Florida State on Saturday.

Miami visits North Carolina on Saturday.

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