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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies comeback at Florida State falls short in 77-74 loss

A questionable foul with 1.2 seconds remaining cost the Hokies a chance at overtime.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies (9-5, 2-1) were moments away from completing an epic comeback and picking up their second ACC win of the season. Unfortunately, a questionable foul call with 1.2 seconds remaining allowed the Florida State Seminoles (8-6, 2-1) to win the game from the free-throw line, 77-74 on Saturday in Tallahassee.

Florida State controlled the first 10 minutes of the game, opening up a 14-9 lead over Virginia Tech, but a pair of 3-pointers from Hunter Cattoor and Sean Pedulla gave the Hokies their first lead of the game with 9:43 remaining in the first half. As the teams traded buckets for the next few minutes, Pedulla and MJ Collins drained back-to-back treys, giving VT a 23-17 lead.

The Hokies would open up an eight-point lead before intermission with a 30-27 edge.

Virginia Tech continued to control the game through the first eight minutes of the second half when Collins drained another three at the 12-minute mark, giving Tech a 48-41 lead. However, the ‘Noles slowly fought back and ultimately took their first lead at 50-48. The Hokies would go scoreless over a four-minute stretch, seeing FSU take over and open up a seven-point lead on the strength of a 14-0 run.

Florida State continued to pull away, opening up a 73-63 lead over the Hokies with 2:19 remaining.

The Hokies wouldn’t roll over. Tyler Nickel and Cattoor made four consecutive free throws, trimming the FSU lead to six points. Virginia Tech fouled Jalen Warley, who made one of his two free throws, making it a 74-67 game. Pedulla answered with a strong take to the basket to trim the lead to five points. After a defensive stop, Pedulla drains a 3-pointer with 59 seconds left.

Both teams missed shots on the ensuing possessions. Finally, FSU guard Primo Spears missed both free throws with 13 seconds remaining. Pedulla again drove aggressively to the hoop, drawing another foul. He made both free throws, and we were tied with 5.9 seconds remaining.

Spears took it the length of the floor with Cattoor defending, drawing a foul with 1.2 seconds remaining. Spears wouldn’t miss these free throws, making both. After Virginia Tech turned the ball over trying to go the length of the court, the ‘Noles would make one more free throw before the game went final.

As for that foul on Spears, judge for yourself.

That looks like pretty good defense. When it’s this close, the officials must let the players play. This game should’ve gone into overtime.

It’s Virginia Tech’s second consecutive loss, following last week’s loss to Wake Forest. Next is a home date against No. 16 Clemson in Blacksburg on Wednesday.

Pedulla led all scorers with 26 points and was outstanding. Pedulla had missed some time and struggled after dealing with a foot injury over the last month. He looked as good on Saturday as he has all season, making nine of his 17 shots, including three of six from beyond the arc.

Center Lynn Kidd had one of his worst games from an offensive perspective, scoring only two points on five shots. He did lead the Hokies with eight rebounds. Cattoor chipped in with 19 points, making five of his six 3-point attempts.