In pulling off yet another magic trick Thursday night at Virginia, maybe the Seminoles rediscovered their mojo and a dependable backcourt scorer.
All in time, of course, for the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
Just when it seemed the Seminoles (20-9, 11-4 in ACC) were headed for a third consecutive defeat and a lot of uncertainty heading into Sunday's regular-season finale against Clemson, they pulled off a 16-2 run in the final 4 1/2 minutes to stun Virginia on a 3-point shot from sophomore Ian Miller with 0.8 seconds left for a 63-60 victory.
It was Florida State's third ACC win of the season in the final seconds on a 3-pointer, but this may have been the most important.
The road win seals the 'Noles as the No. 3 team in the ACC, provides a first-round tournament bye and puts them in position to potentially improve their NCAA Tournament seeding with a home win Sunday against the Tigers. The Seminoles should have enough motivation after losing to Clemson by 20 points in their first ACC game in early January.
That was then. Now, this is a different team.
"We put ourselves in a position where a buzzer beater will give us a chance to win," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said, "and that's what you like to see happen with a team. Regardless of our strengths and weaknesses, we're finding a way to win."
The Seminoles may also be finding the dependable scorer from the perimeter they have lacked all season. Miller poured in 18 points to continue his trend of double-digit scoring.
"When he gets going, he's hard to stop," forward Xavier Gibson said. "I think he's one of the best scorers in the ACC right now when he gets the opportunity."
Added Hamilton: "There's not anybody on our team I'd rather be taking that last-second shot than Ian. We wanted the ball in his hands."
Remember, it was junior Michael Snaer who beat Duke and then Virginia Tech on shots from beyond the arc. If two shooters emerge to add help to the frontcourt, Florida State could be an even more dangerous team in the postseason.
The Seminoles should now have a tank full of confidence and good vibes ahead of Clemson's visit to Tallahassee. It will be an emotional pregame ceremony, with seniors Bernard James, Deividas Dulkys, Luke Loucks, Jon Kreft, Jeff Peterson and Gibson all being honored.
TRENDING: The Seminoles welcomed back their defense Thursday. They forced Virginia into 33-percent shooting in the first half and did not allow the barrage of 3-pointers as they did against Duke and Miami. Those two teams shot a combined 22 of 46 (47.8 percent) from behind the arc. As result, Florida State yielded a combined 152 points to the Blue Devils and the Hurricanes.
Another FSU buzzer beater right on time
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