February 7, 2015
Hill's career day not enough to get Hokies past FSU
By Jimmy Robertson
Florida State (13-11, 5-6) 314273
Virginia Tech (9-14, 1-9) 263965
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 7,819
  • High Points: 19 - Ahmed Hill, Adam Smith
  • High Rebounds: 5 - Malik Muller

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s Ahmed Hill scored a career-high 19 points, but Florida State pulled away in the second half en route to a 73-65 victory over the Hokies in an ACC game played Saturday at Cassell Coliseum.

The loss left Tech at 9-14 overall, 1-9 in the ACC. Florida State, which swept the season series, is now 13-11 overall, 5-6 in league play.

The Seminoles tied a season high with eight 3-pointers, and Montay Brandon scored 16 points to pace a balanced Seminole attack that saw 10 players score. He hit 6 of 9 from the floor, including a 3-pointer, as Florida State shot 8 of 18 from beyond the 3-point arc (44.4 percent) and shot 54.3 percent for the game.

“I think they’re good,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “They’ve shot 50 percent in three out of the four halves we played against them. We struggled to guard them. We struggled to keep them off the glass. We didn’t get beat quite as bad on the glass. We only got beat by 9 [32-23] instead of 20, so we improved a little bit. Part of that, though, is they shot a little better in this game.”

Florida State led 31-26 at halftime and pulled away in the second half. A 17-6 run, punctuated by a Brandon dunk with 7:29 left, gave the Seminoles a 59-42 lead – their biggest of the game.

Tech tried to rally. The Hokies used an 8-0 run to cut the Seminole lead to 63-54 on a dunk by Shane Henry with 3:46 remaining. The teams then traded 3-pointers, but Florida State pushed the lead to 68-57 on two Brandon free throws with 1:44 left, and Tech got no closer than six points the rest of the way.

Florida State shot 58.3 percent (14 of 24) in the second half.

“They made six out of 10 shots in the second half, so they were on a run for 20 minutes,” Williams said. “They made 5 out of 10 shots in the first 20 minutes. We didn’t play hard enough and didn’t do a good enough job of executing what we needed to do to give ourselves a chance.”

Hill’s 19 points surpassed his previous career high was 18 points, which came against Presbyterian on Dec. 27. He hit 6 of 9 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from beyond the 3-poitn arc. His four 3-pointers also were a career high, surpassing the three he hit at Wake Forest last Saturday.

“I think he’s the hardest-playing kid on our team,” Williams said. “That’s why he plays more minutes than anyone else. I don’t think he’s the most talented player, but I think he plays really hard. I think he’s completely bought in to what we do and what we’re about. I think he works on his game to the point that he probably needs to stop. He spends a lot of time in the gym. He’s an extremely driven individual.”

Adam Smith had 19 points as well for the Hokies, who shot 40.4 percent.

The Hokies played without guard Will Johnston, who underwent surgery on his elbow last Monday and is out indefinitely. As a result, Tech only dressed nine players.

The Hokies return to action on Monday when they face Georgia Tech. Tipoff is slated for 9 p.m.

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