'Noles resilient in another nailbiter W

With the Tucker Center crowd filing out and Florida State fans about to be disappointed once again, the Seminoles capitalized on some missed Virginia Tech free throws and pulled out a miracle.

With 70 seconds remaining in the game, Seminole supporters began to file out of the Tucker Center expecting another disappointing defeat.

They might regret the decision to exit early for quite some time.

As difficult as the first 38-plus minutes had been to watch, that's exactly how beautiful the final minute was to experience.

The ‘Noles had been down by nine with 1:10 to play but mounted one of the better comebacks in recent memory en route to a 48-47 thrilling victory over underdog Virginia Tech. This contest had not been pretty from the beginning, but the win keeps FSU tied atop the ACC standings with Duke and North Carolina.

"[Virginia Tech] had the right form to put us in a lot of indecisive-type situations," said FSU coach Leonard Hamilton. "They play a 2-3 zone with a lot of opportunities for us, but for whatever reason we executed very poorly against it."

For most of the game, Florida State's execution was as bad as we have seen since the debacle against Princeton earlier in the season. There was little offensive flow, poor ball movement and careless ball control.

Nonetheless, the Seminoles pushed through and continued to believe in themselves, knowing that if they continued to stay with their defensive principles, a breakthrough would come at some point in the night.

That moment came when all hope appeared to be lost.

Guard Luke Loucks had just committed turnovers on consecutive possessions, and FSU was in a nine-point hole with a little more than a minute to play.

However, with each missed Hokie free throw down the stretch, the Seminoles were given life and eventually took advantage. Ian Miller hit a 3 with 44 seconds to play to cut the V-Tech lead to two.

Then, following two more misses at the charity stripe by the men in orange and maroon, it was this season's biggest hero's time to shine once again.

Michael Snaer received a Jeff Peterson pass near the right wing. The 6-5 guard shot without hesitation and drilled a 3-pointer to steal the win. It was a scene eerily similar to what we witnessed at Cameron Indoor Stadium last month.

This time, however, the Tucker Center was sent into madness.

"I've done it before," said Snaer. "You just have to keep believing in yourself the whole game. I missed a few before that, but you just have to keep believing in yourself."

Belief appears to be a common theme surrounding this Seminole squad.

The ‘Noles struggled out of the gate this season and people began to write them off, but this team kept believing. While few thought they could pull the upset at Duke, they believed they would.

And then there's Thursday night. Even the most positive garnet-and-gold fans couldn't have thought they would overcome a large second-half deficit against a Hokie team that had been playing at a desperate level.

Still, Florida State knew it could and accomplished the unimaginable.

"They didn't back down," said Hamilton. "They didn't quit. We sure did not play with the execution we would like to have tonight, but our guys were resilient. We'll take it."

They certainly will.

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The win leaves FSU in control of its own destiny to win the ACC regular-season championship. With just five games remaining on the schedule, any slip-up could rid the Seminoles of that possibility.

The remaining games are no walk in the park, and the ‘Noles could ill afford to drop one at home to an undermanned Virginia Tech team.

As much of a struggle as it was, it might've been the sweetest W of the year. It could be the most satisfying because of the heart it took and the resiliency that had been needed to pull through.

Those are two intangibles that might serve this team a great deal as we make our way to March.

Matt Ritter is the basketball reporter for NoleDigest.com and a graduate student in Media Communication Studies at Florida State.

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