TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Many Florida State fans had already started to leave Saturday night's game, comfortable their Seminoles were in good shape with a 10-point lead as the scoreboard ticked down below 40 seconds.
And did they ever miss an exciting finish.Virginia Tech scored nine points in 33 seconds to get within a point, and only some clutch free throw shooting saved the home team."You don't want to ever leave until the end," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said after Virginia Tech's furious finish. "Anything can happen in this league."Solomon Alabi and Deividas Dulkys scored 13 points apiece as the 25th-ranked Seminoles escaped with a 63-58 victory that snapped a two-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak."Another blowout in the ACC," chuckled Hamilton. "We won by five."Florida State (14-4, 2-2) led by 10 points before Dorenzo Hudson's layup with 37 seconds left cut the Seminoles' lead to 57-49.Hudson, Terrell Bell and Malcolm Delaney then hit 3-pointers in a 21 second span that brought the Hokies (13-3, 1-2) within one point with four seconds left before Michael Snaer's two free throws put the Seminoles up 61-58.Florida State hit five straight free throws in the final eight seconds, including a pair by Dulkys after he intercepted a desperation Virginia Tech pass for a possible game-tying shot with 2.3 seconds left."We grinded our way back into the game," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "We just weren't able to get over the hump."Delaney, who came into the game leading the ACC in scoring, led Virginia Tech with 23 points and Hudson finished with 19.Derwin Kitchen was also in double figures for the Seminoles with 11 points, including a free throw that gave the Seminoles a 59-55 lead with eight seconds left.Florida State's Chris Singleton was held to only two points, but grabbed eight rebounds and blocked five shots as the Seminoles limited Virginia Tech to 34.5 percent shooting in claiming their third straight win over the Hokies."Singleton affects the game in so many different ways," Greenberg said.The 7-foot-1 Alabi also had eight rebounds and a pair of blocked shots and Snaer pulled down seven rebounds to help Florida State with the battle of the boards 40-34.The difference was at the free throw line, where Florida State made 23 of 31 free throws compared to Virginia Tech's 11 of 21."You can't win a game in this league on the road being 11 for 21 at the free throw line and turning it over 18 times," Greenberg said.Florida State took the lead three minutes into the game and never gave it up, building a 14-point lead on two occasions in the first half. The Seminoles held a 32-25 lead at the break.A pair of baskets and a free throw by Alabi capped a 15-3 run that gave Florida State an early 15-5 lead.Virginia Tech, which did shoot 40.9 percent from 3-point range, managed to close the deficit to 30-25 on a 3-pointer by Hudson with a minute left in the half."We knocked 'em down when we needed to have 'em," Hamilton said.