March 9, 2000
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Even in another loss, Bobby Cremins couldn’t help
feeling like a winner in his final game at Georgia Tech.
After 19 seasons with the Yellow Jackets, the white-haired Cremins came up
one point short in his finale as Florida State beat Georgia Tech 63-62 in the
first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday night.
There were no tears from Cremins, just relief that the pressure was over.
“I know my record has not been good in the ACC the last three years, but
you guys and everybody else have made me feel like I’m going out a winner,”
Cremins told reporters in his postgame news conference, where he received an
ovation from a standing-room crowd.
“I just can’t get over how well I’ve been treated. I’m embarrassed,” he
added. “I hope now the focus will get away from me and onto our new coach. I
hope to see Georgia Tech back.”
Cremins did a short television interview after the game and then ran off the
court to cheers from the crowd, finishing 354-237 at the Atlanta school.
“I wish I could have left the program in better shape, but the only way you
leave these days is to lose,” Cremins said. “It has been a wild year. I have
been kind of blindsided by all the accolades.”
Ron Hale scored 21 points one game after scoring none in the regular-season
finale, sinking a pair of free throws with 7.1 seconds left that proved to be
the game-winners that doomed Cremins’ team.
“Talk about hanging on and just surviving. That’s basically what it was,”
Florida State coach Steve Robinson said.
Hale’s miserable Senior Day was his first scoreless outing in 67 games as
the seventh-seeded Seminoles (12-16) will take on second-seeded Maryland on
“We haven’t set the world on fire in this ACC tournament,” said Robinson,
whose program was 2-8 all-time in the tourney before Thursday’s win. “So, for
us to get a win the last two seasons, that shows a lot of game in what we’re
“Sometimes I feel like trying to dig in and trying to become a true part of
this league,” he added. “Hey, we want to be one of the best teams in this
Jason Collier led the eighth-seeded Yellow Jackets (13-17), which shot 42
percent and missed 12 of 18 free throws, with 19 points.
“This was just very emotional and very difficult,” Collier said of his
last college game and Cremins’ situation. “You never want to have to take off
the uniform in a loss.”
The Yellow Jackets trailed by two at the half, but fell behind by as many as
nine midway through the second period. They went on a 7-0 run to close to 53-52
with 3:26 on a slam dunk by Alvin Jones.
But Hale sank a 3-pointer 23 seconds later, and after a hook shot by
Collier, Delvon Arrington made a pair of free throws to push Florida State’s
lead to four.
Georgia Tech had a chance to tie it with 17 seconds left, but Collier’s
base-line hook shot bounced off the rim and Antwuan Dixon and Hale each made
two free throws as the Yellow Jackets lost their fifth straight ACC tournament
game under the 52-year-old Cremins.
Neither team led by more than seven in a poorly played first half.
The Yellow Jackets started 2-for-15 from the field, including a stretch of
nine straight misses from 3-point range.
Meanwhile, the Seminoles began 5-for-20 and went almost nine minutes during
one portion of the half with just one field goal.
Georgia Tech, last in ACC games from the foul line, missed 11 of 16 free
throws in the opening 20 minutes to trail 25-23 at the half. The Seminoles
weren’t much better, missing five of their 11 attempts.