Hokies Fall to FSU in Final Seconds

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A.D. Vassallo’s open three-pointer at the buzzer didn’t fall, and Florida State walked out of Cassell Coliseum with a 67-65 victory on Saturday night. The loss is Tech’s third in a row, and it puts them at 16-10 overall and 6-6 in the ACC.

The ‘Noles took a 67-65 lead with 6.2 seconds remaining in the game when a floater by Toney Douglas rattled in from the lane. The Hokies had rallied from a three-point deficit with less than a minute to play. Seth Greenberg drew up a perfect play that got Vassallo the ball at the top of the key for the final shot, but it didn’t go down.

After going through a shooting slump over the last four games, Malcolm Delaney scored 25 points on Saturday night. He was 6-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. Delaney was also 8-of-9 from the free throw line, and he dished out four assists in 36 minutes.

Vassallo scored 15 points in 32 minutes. He only played 13 minutes in the first half. At one point, he was benched for his inability to fight through screens and close out on three-point shooters.

Returning from his suspension, Jeff Allen had good numbers. He put up a double-double, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes. His offensive rebound and stick back with 37 seconds remaining tied the game at 65. However, on the ensuing FSU possession, Allen and Delaney got caught out high on a screen, and Toney Douglas was able to slip into the lane for the game-winning basket.

The game began poorly for the Hokies, with FSU jumping out to a 25-13 lead with 10:06 remaining in the first half. The ‘Noles were on pace to score 100 points in the game, but VT buckled down defensively for the remainder of the game. Overall, it was one of Tech’s best defensive games of the year. FSU carried a 43-33 lead into halftime, but Tech made a big rally in the second half.

The Hokies began the second half on a 14-2 run, and a three-pointer by Malcolm Delaney with 14:18 remaining in the game gave Tech a 47-45 lead. They extended that lead to 51-47 with a layup by A.D. Vassallo with 9:03 left.

Florida State fought back and regained the lead, and two free throws by Toney Douglas made the score 65-62 with 1:58 remaining. Vassallo missed a three-pointer on Tech’s next possession, but FSU failed to convert. The Hokies got the ball back, and Cheick Diakite was fouled while going to the basket with 57 seconds left.

Diakite made the first free throw to cut the lead to two, but missed the second. However, Jeff Allen was there for the offensive rebound and putback with 37 seconds left, evening the score at 65-65. That set the stage for the game-winning shot by Toney Douglas, and the last second miss by A.D. Vassallo.

With their NCAA tournament hopes fading quickly, the Hokies return to action on Wednesday night when they travel to Clemson. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN2.

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