The Florida State Seminoles did not play their best game — or anything remotely resembling it — on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.
The Seminoles flourished in the first 10 minutes but then watched the Virginia Tech Hokies steadily reel them in. They faltered, they flinched, they were outplayed for most of the final few minutes of regulation time. They produced multiple statistics which pointed to a likely loss.
They didn’t lose.
17 turnovers. Couldn't run offense. Only 11 FTAs. Should of lost that game.
But we didn't. Defense travels.
— Basketball School (@MichaelRogner) March 14, 2019
Florida State, which defeated Virginia Tech in overtime on March 5 after falling behind by 14 points at halftime, thought it was so nice it did so twice. The Noles eclipsed the Hokies in overtime for the second time this month, digging out a 65-63 win to move to Friday’s first ACC semifinal against top-seeded Virginia.
Terance Mann hit this off-balance 13-footer with 1.8 seconds left to break a tie and enable Florida State to escape:
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) March 14, 2019
How did the Noles do it?
“That’s just how our team is,” said Mann, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. “Whoever feels comfortable with the position they’re in, they’re going to do it. And we all have full faith in here in everybody to do so.”
That faith, which is prevalent in the Florida State huddle, began with the coach of the Seminoles, who didn’t call timeout before Mann’s bucket, instead trusting his player to make a play.
“I was going to live and die with whatever happened as a result of that,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Florida State lived to play another day in Charlotte. It will get a shot at the team which is likely to be the No. 1 overall seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Trying to beat Virginia will be an incredibly difficult task for the Seminoles, especially away from home. Florida State has been extremely successful against ACC competition (and anyone else) in Tallahassee, but taking down Virginia at a neutral site will be daunting.
The task will require a lot of faith.
Florida State has more than enough.
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