- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 15, 2008

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Time after time, Virginia Tech freshman J.T. Thompson grabbed an offensive rebound in the second half of yesterday’s ACC quarterfinal against Miami.

It looked like the play was cued up on a loop, so dominant the Hokies were on the glass. But in this instance, Thompson’s persistence ensured Virginia Tech assumed the lead.

“We came to the timeout after the possession when he chased down about four or five rebounds in a row. and I said ‘Man, you’re a beast,’ ” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “I couldn’t find any other way to describe it. He was just a beast. He would not be denied.”

Neither, as it turned, would the fourth-seeded Hokies.

Virginia Tech dispatched fifth-seeded Miami 63-49 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, filling a noticeable void in its NCAA tournament resume.

It was the Hokies’ first top-50 victory of the season, and it could not have come at a better time. It also gave Virginia Tech 10 victories over conference opponents between the regular season and the tournament, a plateau no team has reached since N.C. State in 1975 (with a 32-team field) without an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

“If I did get a vote, obviously we’d be in, but I don’t get a vote,” Greenberg said. “You hope that you beat a team that’s going to be in the tournament and play the way you played. If anyone was watching that game, I’d say you would say ‘That team should be in the NCAA tournament.’ ”

Rebounding was the most impressive facet of the victory. When Miami (22-10) visited Blacksburg last month, it held a 15-rebound edge.

Yesterday, Virginia Tech (19-12) controlled the glass 51-25 and in the second half had as many offensive boards (12) as the Hurricanes managed at both ends.

“That’s all Coach has been talking about and as you can see, it’s been helping us a lot,” said Thompson, who had seven rebounds (five offensive) in 31 minutes. “If we come out tomorrow and do the same thing, hopefully we’ll get another big win.”

Freshman Jeff Allen had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Senior wing Deron Washington provided 14 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman swingman Dorenzo Hudson was quietly efficient, chasing down five rebounds in 13 minutes.

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