Dwayne Bacon found his shot, but it was not enough as Florida State fell to the Virginia Tech Hokies, 83-73, in Blacksburg, Va.
“I thought we played some pretty good basketball for about 34 minutes, but unfortunately the game is 40 minutes,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said after the game.
The Seminoles led for nearly the entire game until the Hokies took control in the final minutes.
Virginia Tech’s Seth Allen scored a game-high 23 points (4-5 from 3-point range) and grabbed five rebounds. After the game, Hamilton called Allen a “one-man wrecking ball.”
Bacon led the Seminoles with 22 points, shooting 50 percent for the game.
Bacon, who had previously averaged just 25 percent from outside the arc, connected on four of six outside shots in just one half, helping the Seminoles open up a 17-7 lead less than six minutes into the game. Bacon had 16 first-half points while sitting the last few minutes with two fouls.
The loss is FSU’s fourth straight during a critical juncture in the season. The Seminoles have a trip to Duke followed by Notre Dame and Syracuse at home before the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C.
Florida State (16-11, 6-9) entered halftime up 45-37 over the Hokies (14-13, 6-8), leading by as many as 11 points in the opening period.
That lead would not be enough to stop a Hokie comeback. Virginia Tech made the first shot of the game, but did not lead again until taking a 67-66 lead with 4:31 left in the game, a lead that it never relinquished.
With just under 11 minutes to go, Virginia Tech closed the gap to five and began to mount a rally. Allen had to leave the game briefly after a collision with Boris Bojanovsky, but returned and showed no ill effects.
Bacon connected on his fifth 3-pointer with 9:36 remaining on the clock, his first made field goal of the second half. Down just six, the Hokies made two free throws before a Bacon hustle rebound and putback got the Noles back up six again.
Then, Tech’s Jalen Hudson hit a 3-pointer followed by a Devin Wilson layup that closed the Seminole lead to just one with just under eight minutes to go.
After a missed FSU layup, Allen took the ball coast-to-coast to put the Hokies up 67-66 with 4:31 on the clock. That was all the Hokies needed.
A pair of opportune 3-pointers from Justin Robinson gave the Hokies a six-point lead with 2:01 to go. Robinson finished with 13 points, 3-of-3 from outside the arc.
After trading free throws, Allen drained a 3-point shot on a well-executed play to put the Hokies up nine and effectively seal the Seminoles’ fate.
“I thought (Virginia Tech) did a very good job of staying focused, even though they were behind; they kept clawing and scratching,” Hamilton said. “I think both teams played hard and gave tremendous effort. I just think, during that critical period in the second half, they mounted a charge and we didn’t answer it.”
Malik Beasley had a good afternoon with 11 points and eight rebounds, but was unusually inefficient as he shot just 3 for 12 from the floor. Xavier Rathan-Mayes contributed 14 points (4-for-9), two boards and two steals.
Bojanovsky had a successful day in the post, both in putting back missed shots and going up on his own. He had 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks before a collision with VT’s Allen forced both of them to head to the locker room. Bojanovsky later returned, although Jarquez Smith threw in eight points and four rebounds in his absence.
Next up, the Seminoles travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play the Duke Blue Devils Thursday night on ESPN.