Posted by BillFromTampa
What looked to a dagger of a shot to Virginia Tech turned out instead to be a dagger to Florida State.
Derwin Kitchen’s jumper from inside the arc along the right baseline was a millisecond too late leaving his finger tips. Instead of a game winning shot that saw the FSU bench rush to Kitchen to celebrate, the referees determined after several minutes via replay that the clock had gone off before the shot.
Gene Deckerhoff described the heartbreaking loss this way.
“The shot is no good. Virginia Tech wins 52-51. How did they do it? Count up the turnovers and that will tell you the story.”
Deckerhoff was of course referring to the 20 turnovers by the Seminoles that led to 19 points for VT.
But it was the one that occurred with just 25 seconds left in the game that proved to be the most crucial one of them all.
After FSU called a timeout with 15 seconds left on the shot clock, Devidas Dulkys inbounded the ball to Michael Snaer. Tech promptly trapped Snaer and Jeff Allen ripped the ball away from him.
That led to Malcolm Delaney driving under the basket, kicking the ball out to Eric Green positioned out on the left wing all alone. To that point in the game, Green was 1-12 from the floor. Unfortunately for Florida State, he finished 2-13 canning the shot giving VT the 52-51 lead with 4.7 seconds left.
It was just the second lead of the game for the Hokies, the first occurring at the 17:10 mark of the first half.
Kitchen received the ball and raced down the right side of the floor pulling up, elevating, and swishing what was originally called a made basket as the buzzer went off.
But the required review proved otherwise and was the correct call as replay showed the ball was still on Kitchen’s fingertips as the light on the backboard went off.
FSU held a 27-19 halftime lead. And with FSU’s record when leading at the half (18-1) in addition to holding VT to just 18% from the floor, things looked to be definitely in the ‘Noles favor.
But it was not to be and FSU suffered yet another loss in Greenville where the Seminoles have won just one first round game.
A dejected Leonard Hamilton noted that it was not the waning seconds of the game to focus on the reasons for the loss but rather much earlier in the game.
“We put ourselves in a bad position where we could lose at the end”, Hamilton said. “I thought we executed what we wanted to do on offense but I look down at the stat sheet and see they went to the free throw line twenty-one times and we went to the line five times.”
Hamilton referred also to the three straight possessions in the first half where FSU turned the ball over as well as the second half where FSU was leading 38-28 and gave away the ball three consecutive times as well.
“We left our feet twice and threw the ball through the hands of another player” in referring to back to back turnovers by Snaer and a pass from Luke Loucks that went off the hands of Dulkys.
In the end all were costly possessions that took potential points away from the Seminoles.
While FSU shot a very respectable 47% and owned the paint (34 points to 1, the Seminole guards struggled greatly against the Hokie 2/3 zone defense. The three starting guards (Snaer, Dulkys, and Kitchen) combined for a dreadful 5-22 including 2 of 11 from behind the arc.
And when the ball did get inside to a post player such as Bernard James (who lead FSU with 11 points on 5-5 shooting), the VT defense quickly collapsed on him and James just could not seem to draw a referee’s whistle.
“I think we need to give them credit for their resilience and conditioning playing just six players”, Hamilton added.
Ian Miller was the only other Seminole in double figures with 10 points, eight coming in the first half.
Delaney led all scorers with 16 with 12 coming in the second half. Manny Atkins added 14.
Part of the game plan going into the game was to get the Hokies in foul trouble. Three players including Delaney had four but FSU never could get them out of the game.
So for the second year in a row FSU is one and done in the ACC tournament and will now await the announcement of the NCAA tournament selection committee to find out where they will travel to. But this loss does not help FSU’s seeding. It does however give VT a shot at being included in the Big Dance.