Jan. 10, 2012
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
BLACKSBURG, Va. — Florida State couldn’t afford to lose this one. Not with No. 3 North Carolina and the ESPN College Gameday cameras coming to town this Saturday.
Early in the season but already with their backs against the wall following a lopsided loss at Clemson, FSU needed a strong defensive performance and for Bernard James to put the team on his broad shoulders Tuesday night as the Seminoles earned a 63-59 win at Virginia Tech.
By tying his career high with 18 points and setting a new career best with 15 rebounds (nine of which occurred on the offensive glass), James made sure that FSU (10-6, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) picked up its first ACC win of the year and in the process generate some much-needed momentum as college basketball fans across the country prepare to turn their attention to Tallahassee.
The Seminoles also achieved a new season high with 15 blocks.
Miller continued his impressive offensive play off the bench as the sophomore added 15 points in the win. White finished with just four points but none were more important than the two he scored off a pair of successful free-throw attempts with under six seconds let to play at Cassell Coliseum.
The Seminoles had built a 30-21 lead at halftime but the Hokies (11-5, 0-2) had outscored FSU 38-31 in the second half before White’s clutch free throws sealed the win.
After uncharacteristically struggling on defense in the loss to Clemson, Florida State looked more like its typically dominant self on that side of the basketball court Tuesday night. In addition to halting over a dozen Virginia Tech shots, the ‘Noles held their opponents to just 30.5 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range.
Erick Green led the Hokies with 21 points but he wishes his total would have reached 23. Green had an opportunity to tie the game at 61-61 with 10 seconds remaining but Deividas Dulkys’ defensive pressure forced him to miss a driving shot attempt before White snagged the rebound and was fouled.
Dulkys registered a career-best five blocks. Miller also set a new career high for blocks with four and James and Xavier Gibson had three blocks each.
For the game, the Seminoles won the rebounding battle 36-29.
Florida State doesn’t have much time to enjoy the win as attention immediately turns to the Tar Heels. FSU and UNC square off at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. where the Seminoles have a history of knocking off highly ranked teams.
ESPN College Gameday will air live from the Tucker Center and FSU fans are encouraged to join in the festivities. A very limited number of tickets for the ACC showdown are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-888-FSU-NOLE or by visiting the online ticket office by clicking here.