GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Virginia Tech may have finally ended a three-year drought of going to the NCAA tournament by the tips of Derwin Kitchen's fingers.
Kitchen hit a game-winning corner jumper at the buzzer for Florida State that was originally called good by the officials.
But the officials conferred upon multiple replays and saw that the ball -- barely -- was still on Kitchen’s fingers. The three officials, as well as an alternate official and the head of officiating for the ACC were on the court as the two teams stood idle, anxiously waiting for the result. A policeman even stood guard behind the officials as they decided on the call.
Finally, official Bryan Kersey waved off the basket, signaling a Virginia Tech 52-51 victory over Florida State to advance to the semifinals Saturday against Duke.
The Hokies, who had lost to Boston College at home and at Clemson after beating Duke, started the week here in Greensboro probably needing to win two games to feel secure. They knocked off Georgia Tech Thursday and then won in thrilling fashion against Florida State.
Turning point: If it’s not the call then it’s Malcolm Delaney driving to the hoop and kicking the ball back out to Erick Green for a jumper with 4.7 seconds left to give the Hokies a 52-51 lead. Delaney had missed one free throw prior to that that prevented Tech from tying the game at 51 with 51.5 seconds left.
Key player: Delaney probably has to get the nod, even though he missed the free throw. He did set up the winning bucket and ended with 16 points, five assists and three 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
Key stat: The Seminoles dominated the Hokies on the boards 42-29 and that’s why FSU was able to stay in so many possessions. But ultimately the Noles weren’t able to convert.
What’s next: Virginia Tech plays Duke in the semifinals while Florida State will be in the NCAA tournament but will likely get a lower seed since Chris Singleton still hasn’t returned. Singleton looked strong in warm-ups, but never got onto the court. He hasn’t played in the past six games due to a broken foot.