By: Associated Press
March 5, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- M.J. Walker scored nine of his 11 points after halftime, including a critical three-pointer in overtime, and No. 14 Florida State rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to top No. 15 Virginia Tech 73-64 on Tuesday night.
Mfiondu Kabengele scored 13 points in the second half and overtime and Florida State improved to 15-1 at home this season and tied the program record with 12 Atlantic Coast Conference wins.
The Seminoles trailed 35-22 with 18:08 left in regulation but slowly chipped away. Six minutes later, Florida State tied the game and Terance Mann's 3-pointer with 11:26 remaining gave the Seminoles a 44-41 lead.
Virginia Tech was short-handed, playing without guard Justin Robinson (foot) and forward Kerry Blackshear (fouled out). But Ahmed Hill hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 61. After a timeout, Mann missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
With the win, Florida State (24-6, 12-5) clinched the No. 4 seed in next week's ACC Tournament and a double bye. Virginia Tech (22-7, 11-6) is locked into the No. 5 seed.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 19 points to pace Virginia Tech.
Blackshear, the Hokies' tallest player at 6-foot-10, fouled out with 2:46 left. He had nine points and five rebounds but it was a tough loss for Virginia Tech, which only goes seven deep.
Florida State has won 12 straight against Virginia Tech in Tallahassee, going back to 1990 when the teams were Metro Conference rivals. The Seminoles are 9-0 at home in ACC games against the Hokies.
Hill and Alexander-Walker each had 10 first-half points as Virginia Tech took a 33-19 halftime lead. The Hokies outrebounded FSU 21-13 and held the Seminoles to just 26.9 percent (7 of 26) from the floor.
The Hokies were dominant in the first half, but ran out of gas in overtime. They were again without Robinson, who was in street clothes but coaching up teammates from the bench.
The Seminoles scored just 19 first-half points, their lowest total of the season. But a 12-0 second-half run and some critical shots in overtime, as well as free-throws, helped them to the win.
Florida State travels to face Wake Forest on Saturday to close the regular season.