Florida State got out to a great start in the ACC tournament taking a 17-4 lead just 8 minutes in against Virginia Tech. Devin Vassell, PJ Savoy and even Trent Forrest made threes in the opening minutes. It was a nice cushion for FSU fans knowing that Tech would make a run at some point.
However, instead of making one huge run, the Hokies chipped away at the lead resulting in a two-point deficit going into the locker room. VA Tech stifled the Seminole offense by doing everything they could to keep the ball out of the paint forcing three-point shots just like they did in Tallahassee.
FSU found a little bit of momentum in the early stages of the second half, but were only able to get an eight-point lead. The game went back and forth for a while and the Hokies tied the game at 48.
After trading baskets down the stretch Virginia Tech was up by one with one last possession to try to stretch the lead. Ahmed Hill found Kerry Blackshear and as he went up with the shot he was fouled and made ‘the and one’ baby hook shot. This pushed the Hokie lead to 3 with a free-throw attempt coming up. To FSU fans delight the ball rimmed out and FSU raced for a game-tying attempt.
Sixth Man of the Year Mfiondu Kabengele missed the game-tying shot but Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit the ball out of bounds giving the good guys one more shot. Forrest attempted to find Phil Cofer in the corner on his left but changed his mind and threw to freshman Devin Vassell in the opposite corner. Knowing he was about to get fouled he put up a quick three. Despite this, it looked good coming off his hand and BANG! the game was tied.
Virginia Tech then missed a half-court shot sending the game to overtime.
Two teams traded baskets for the first half of the extra session. With two minutes to go Alexander-Walker made a three putting VT ahead by 3. The lead was short-lived as Phil Cofer tied it up on the next possession.
Both defenses were able to get stops and with 10 seconds ago Forrest grabbed a rebound and threw the ball up to Terance Mann in front of the scorers table. Mann raced towards the baseline and threw up a runner as he was suspended in the air. By the time he hit the floor the ball started bouncing on the rim and eventually fell in giving the Seminoles the lead with 1.8 seconds to go. Virginia Tech called a timeout to set up a play but it was to no avail as the shot sailed wide right giving the Seminoles a 60-58 overtime victory.
Florida State advances in the ACC tournament to play no. 1 seed Virginia (no. 2 in the AP poll) at 7 PM on Frday.
In the first game of the conference schedule the Seminoles were pounded by the Cavaliers 65-52. It would’ve been a lot worse if it were not for a huge run in the final minute to cut the lead to 13. In this game, Terance Mann only played 18 minutes and scored 0 points. It was later discovered that he was playing hurt.
Also, in that meeting Virginia guard Kyle Guy had 21 points and was 5/6 from distance. He had another spectacular performance yesterday in the quarterfinal against NC State, in which he was 7/9 from beyond the arc going for 29 points. He’s not the only scoring option for the Cavaliers as Ty Jerome and possible first-round pick De’Andre Hunter are capable of having big games as well.
Despite having so many scoring options on offense, Virginia likes to play a very methodical pace. Teams that play this pace have been hard for Florida State is figure out. FSU’s offense struggled yesterday with turnovers (16) and moving without the ball and if that continues it could be a long game for the Seminoles.
If FSU does advance they will play the winner of no. 3 North Carolina and no. 5 Duke. Florida State is looking for its second ACC tournament title and third title game appearance. The championship game will be Saturday at 8:30 PM.
As for the NCAA tournament, it looks like the Seminoles have wrapped up a 4 seed and with a win today could get a 3 seed. If they win the ACC tournament they could possibly be a 2.