For the second time in a week, the Virginia Tech Hokies had their hearts ripped out by the Florida State Seminoles in overtime, falling 65-63 to the ACC’s No. 4 seed in a March classic.
This is ******* March.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 14, 2019
This game was much different than last week as FSU jumped out to a big lead early. The Hokies looked dead in the water, then went on a big run and tied the game just before halftime. Florida State scored again before the half and the Hokies had a shot to tie or take the lead but Kerry Blackshear, Jr. missed a shot just before intermission and the ‘Noles led 26-24.
Despite the two big runs, it was an ugly half for both sides. The Hokies missed all 11 three-point attempts, but surprisingly dominated inside. Tech had a 18-6 advantage inside the paint, despite FSU’s size advantage up front.
In the second half, Tech’s outside shooting was much better as the Hokies connected on four of eight attempts. Still, though, Tech still never could get the lead from the Seminoles. Finally, with 1:14 remaining in the game, the Hokies took their first lead and the bench came unglued after Blackshear’s slam dunk. Could we be looking at an all-Virginia semifinal in the ACC Tournament?
Much like every game in this series, the ‘Noles weren’t done. The Hokies took a three-point and with under 10 seconds remaining, looked poised to pull off an impressive and gritty win. Offensively, the Hokies shot the ball too quickly, giving FSU the ball back with around five seconds.
The ‘Noles inbounded the ball to freshman Devin Vassell who hit a contested three from the corner and we were tied—again. We were going to overtime.
The Hokies had much more gas left in this overtime than last week’s tilt. Tech controlled the action for much of the five-minute period and led 63-60 late in the period after Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a three. Again, the ‘Noles weren’t done as senior Phil Cofer tied it up with a three of his own.
After each team had scoreless possessions, FSU guard Trent Forrest brought the ball up the court and found Terance Mann for an improbable runner to give the Seminoles a 65-63 lead with just 1.8 seconds left. The Hokies’ last attempt was off and FSU advances to the semifinals to face Virginia and Tech is eliminated.
What a heartbreaking loss for Virginia Tech. But for as tough of a loss as this was, it showed the true character of this team. Despite being shorthanded, they fought until the end. Now, the Hokies get a week of rest before beginning NCAA Tournament next week. Hopefully, Justin Robinson will be back in the lineup and the Hokies go on a run.
Alexander-Walker led the Hokies with 21 points, while Blackshear scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Hill chipped in with 16 points. Vassell led the ‘Noles with 14 points, while Mann scored 10 points and had nine rebounds.
Defensively, the Hokies were terrific and held ACC sixth-man of the year, 6’10” Mfiondu Kabengele to just seven points. Unfortunately, they came up just short and head into the NCAA Tournament with a 24-8 record.