Down 33-19 at the half, the Seminoles fought back and outlasted the Hokies in overtime, 73-64.
Above The Rim
- Both teams started hot from the floor. Terance Mann scored five early points, and PJ Savoy connected on two threes before the Seminoles went scoreless for over six minutes and then managed just 8 points in the remainder of the 1st half. At this point, Virginia Tech locked in and took complete control of the game. FSU was held to bad looks at the end of the shot clock, sometimes not even getting a shot off, an achievement Buzz Williams highly prizes. The Hokies were taking away everything, and the ’Noles looked to have no answers. Down 33-19 at halftime, credit to Coach Ham and his staff for making the right adjustments. The Seminoles used a renewed energy to make this game the dogfight it was expected to be, displaying the ability to maintain composure when things are going wrong and a knack for pulling out close games. Both are traits that serve teams well in postseason play.
- The refs let Virginia Tech get away with a lot of contact in the 1st half, and with neither team getting into the bonus only five total free throws were attempted before halftime. The aggressive play came to a boil when Trent Forrest and Mfiondu Kabengele went to block Kerry Blackshear, and all three crashed to the floor. Forrest got whistled for a foul which triggered a media timeout, and things got chippy as Virginia Tech’s bench came out on the court for their huddle. There was an exchange of words before heads cooled without incident, but this seemed to be a turning point in how the refs would call the game. The teams combined for thirty-one personal fouls in the 2nd half, and FSU greatly benefitted from the increase in visits to the line. The ’Noles finished 19-22 (86.4%) from the charity stripe, including 7-8 (87.5%) in overtime to seal the victory. Virginia Tech finished the game 12-15 (80%) from the free throw line.
- Virginia Tech is one of the nation’s top three-point shooting teams and showed off that ability going 5-12 (41.7%) from beyond the arc in the 1st half. After Florida State made 2nd half adjustments the Hokie’s cooled off with 3-12 (25%) from deep in the 2nd, and 0-3 in OT, to finish at 8-27 (29.6%). VT shot 22-53 (41.5%) from the floor in regulation, but FSU was able to hold them to 1-7 (14.3%) in OT. As mentioned in the game preview, Virginia Tech’s zone defense tries to force opponents into taking threes, and Florida State obliged. The Seminoles attempted nearly twice as many threes to field goals than their season average. While FSU did not hit a high percentage from deep, finishing 10-36 (27.8%), they connected at crucial moments and connected often enough to soften the zone and open up driving lanes. The Seminoles went 22-58 (37.9) from the floor on the game, including 13-26 (50%) in the 2nd half.
- Despite shooting 0-5 from three and 4-13 from the floor, Kabengele went 9-11 from the line to finish with a team-high 17 points. He also grabbed 9 boards, had 2 steals and made 2 assists. In his postgame remarks, Buzz Williams had all-around praise for Kabengele’s game and mentioned that the different ways FSU uses him off of ball screens gave his team trouble. The matchup with Blackshear was a difficult one, but Kabengele held his own and continued to show that he is one of the best players in the conference.
- Phil Cofer and Terance Mann both came through on Senior Day. Cofer played terrific defense and finished with 11 points and 3 rebounds. Mann had 4 assists, 2 steals, and 6 rebounds to go with his 14 points. The two embraced as the buzzer sounded at the end of overtime and they had secured a final home victory.
Virginia Tech Head Coach Buzz Williams:
Coach Leonard Hamilton:
M.J. Walker talks about his big shot in OT, the team’s toughness, and more:
Florida State closes out the regular season with a noon tip at Wake Forest on Saturday.