BLACKSBURG, Va. – Florida State’s Toney Douglas hit a short jumper with 6.2 seconds remaining and the Seminoles survived a 3-point attempt by Tech’s A.D. Vassallo at the buzzer en route to a 67-65 victory over the Hokies in an ACC game play Saturday night at Cassell Coliseum.
The heartbreaking loss marked Tech’s third straight and sent the Hokies to 16-10 overall on the season 6-6 in the ACC. Florida State won its second straight game and its fifth in the past six games. The Seminoles moved to 21-6 overall, 8-4 in the ACC.
The game marked the 13th of the season decided by five points or less for the Hokies, who are 6-7 in such games, and the fifth time this season the Hokies have lost in the waning seconds (Xavier, Wisconsin, Georgia, BC and FSU).
The Hokies trailed 65-62 in the final minute, but Cheick Diakite made the front end of a one-and-one to cut the lead to two with 57 seconds left. He missed the second attempt, but the Hokies got the rebound and tied the game on Jeff Allen’s stick-back off a Malcolm Delaney missed 3-pointer with 37.5 seconds to go.
FSU called a timeout with 20.1 seconds remaining to set up a play. The Seminoles took the lead when Douglas turned down a ball screen, slipped past Delaney into the lane and hit a short jumper with 6.2 ticks left.
“He’s a very good player,” Greenberg said. “We knew exactly what they were going to do. The kid [Douglas] made a good move and made a good play.”
“I take responsibility for that one,” Delaney said. “We were going to switch it. I was looking for the screen and he [Douglas] didn’t use the screen. He came back the other way. I take responsibility for that one. It was a good play by him.”
Tech called a timeout after Douglas’ shot and Greenberg set up a play. Delaney pushed the ball hard up the sideline and handed the ball off to Hank Thorns, who hit a wide-open Vassallo at the top of the key with a perfect pass. Vassallo got a great look, but his 3-pointer at the buzzer was a little strong as the horn sounded.
“I thought it was going in,” Vassallo said. “For sure. It just didn’t.”
“The kids did a good job of executing,” Greenberg said of his final play. “The kids executed it well. A.D. got a good look. Sometimes you make them and sometimes you don’t.
“When he shoots it, I always think it’s going to go in.”
It marked a bitter end for the Hokies, who had rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit and a 10-point halftime deficit. Tech made five of its first eight shots of the second half and used a 14-2 run to take its first lead when Delaney drained a 3-pointer with 14:15 left in the game. Delaney and Vassallo each hit two 3-pointers in that run.
Delaney came into the game in a bit of a shooting slump, having hit just 16-of-52 from the floor the past four games, including 5-of-20 from beyond the 3-point arc. But the sophomore from Baltimore broke out with 25 points, hitting 6-of-12 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. He also drained 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Delaney extended his streak of scoring in double figures to 31 games. He also scored at least 20 points for the 10th time this season.
Vassallo added 15 points for the Hokies, hitting 5-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. Allen finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The double-double marked his seventh of the season and the 17th of his career.
Douglas paced the Seminoles, scoring 12 of his 22 points in the second half. Derwin Kitchen scored a career-high 19 points, hitting 8-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Florida State shot 41.4 percent from the floor and hit 10 3-pointers. Tech shot 42.9 percent from the floor and out-rebounded the bigger Seminoles 33-29, but turned the ball over 16 times.
Tech will try to snap its losing skid on Wednesday when it travels to Clemson, S.C., for a game with the Tigers. Tip off for the game is slated for 7:30 p.m. The Tigers won the first meeting 86-82 on Jan. 29 at Cassell Coliseum.
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