FSU’s Season Ends
Posted by BillFromTampa
Moments earlier Chris Singleton pumped faked getting his man in the air and drove the ball in along the right baseline for the slam dunk giving Florida State a 71-70 lead.
Seven point nine seconds remained in overtime. That is all that separated Florida State from their first appearance in the Elite Eight since 1993.
All the Seminoles needed to do was to hold VCU on the inbound play under the Rams’ basket.
But the Rams had burned the ‘Noles on inbound plays throughout the game. This one particularly hurt when Joey Rodriguez bounced the ball under and in between two Seminole defenders right to a cutting Bradford Burgess who laid the ball in to take a 72-71 lead with 7.1 seconds left.
With time running out it looked like Derwin Kitchen might pull out the last second win. After driving from the top of the key down to the right of the lane Kitchen passed up a layup and kicked the ball to Singleton who never got a shot off having it blocked and thus ending a comeback and the Seminoles’ season.
The last seconds of overtime had an eerily similarity to end of regulation. Singleton had just tied the score at 65 with his only three pointer of the game with 41 seconds left. Bernard James swatted away Burgess’ floater in the lane with only 15 seconds on the game clock.
Leonard Hamilton chose to not call a timeout and avoid letting VCU set up in the zone presumably to let his offense attack.
Kitchen had the ball but instead of attacking the basket, Kitchen dribbled aimlessly on the perimeter and heaved a wild turnaround jumper that had no chance of going in sending the game to an extra period.
Those two plays will be remembered by FSU fans for a long time. It is not how Kitchen, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds, should be remembered in his final college game. But they summarized FSU’s inability to put the ball in the basket against VCU.
Of course an active Rams’ defense had a little something to do with that. But FSU fans have seen this before.
The statistics give an indication of FSU’s offensive futility. The ‘Noles had 18 more shots than the Rams and outrebounded VCU 47-25 that included 21 offensive boards not to mention nine missed layups in the first half.
FSU was simply unable to put the ball in the basket enough as has often been the case throughout the season.
Down 36-31 at the half, the Seminoles grabbed a 38-36 lead not two minutes into the second period off a Deveidas Dulkys’ three in transition from the left corner.
It remained a tight back and forth game despite a flurry of nine points from reserve Brandon Rozzell.
But a driving layup by Rozzell made it 59-51 and following a layup by Kitchen, Rodriguez’ back door layup made it 61-53.
Rob Brandenberg threatened to make it a ten point lead but could only make one of two from the charity stripe.
It was at that moment VCU chose a poor time to go cold from the line connecting on just 2 of 7 over the remainder of regulation.
The Seminole defense tightened as well allowing VCU just one basket in the last eight minutes.
FSU grabbed a lead, 67-65, one minute into overtime on a driving layup by Michael Snaer. But Burgess who had been a thorn in FSU’s side all game long scoring a game high 26 points canned a three from the left corner.
Rozzell added two free throws before Kitchen’s layup made it 70-69 in favor of the Rams.
Rodriguez missed two more charity shots and both teams were way off on a three point attempt each setting up the drama by Singleton and subsequent heartbreak in the final 29 seconds.
But credit VCU in earning the win. The Rams attacked and exploited the Seminole defense shooting 46% for the game (including 12 three pointers many of which that were uncontested taking advantage of FSU’s collapsing style of defense by spreading wide) far above the Seminoles’ nation leading 36% field goal defense.
Singleton and Snaer were the other Seminoles in double figures with 16 and 12 points respectively.
And so ends Florida State’s season that despite some bumps along the way turned out to be the most successful post season play in many years and finishing at 23-11.