March 1, 2012
Miller did his best Michael Snaer impression and hit a game-winning 3-pointer for FSU. He finished the night with a team-high 18 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
Another game, another 3-pointer for the win. FSU beat Duke, Virginia Tech and Virginia this thanks to final-seconds triples
FSU beat Duke, Virginia Tech and Virginia this year by a combined seven points thanks to late-game heroics.
Florida State has now won at least 20 games in a season in four consecutive years.
Virginia had scored at least 60 points in 17 games prior to Thursday’s contest and were undefeated in those games.
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com Senior Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — For a team that has made a habit out of hitting game-winning 3-pointers, this was a new one for No. 22 Florida State.
Like the buzzer-beating wins over Duke and Virginia Tech, FSU’s 63-60 victory at No. 24 Virginia Thursday ended the same way with a clutch long-range jumper. But on a night when the Seminoles (20-9, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) were looking to avoid their first three-game ACC losing streak since 2008, it wasn’t Michael Snaer that took the final shot and Bernard James wasn’t there to set a well-timed screen or celebrate with his teammates.
Instead, Ian Miller played the role of hero this time as his 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left gave the ‘Noles their fourth-consecutive 20-win season and capped off an impressive comeback after it seemed like the garnet-and-gold colored wheels had fallen off following James’ ejection.
FSU’s senior center was tossed from the game after he half-heartedly but intentionally kicked Virginia’s Joe Harris with 4:58 remaining. James’ uncharacteristic play occurred before the Cavaliers (21-8, 8-7) increased their lead to 58-47 20 seconds later.
But despite the loss of its best post player, FSU’s guard-heavy lineup — and perhaps the team’s emotional response to James’ impromptu absence — erased the 11-point deficit and closed the game on a 13-2 run.
In that time span, not only did Florida State get nine points from Miller but the Seminoles also forced four Virginia turnovers.
“It was like, `It’s on now,'” Snaer said. “They messed up. They shouldn’t have ever threw BJ out of the game. That was the mistake they made. The fans were like, `Yes. BJ’s gone. We can attack them.’ No, because we just get even more mad, We just get even more fuel.
“We’re a fuel team. We’re an angry team and when we’re angry, we can hurt you.”
Miller’s nine points in the final minutes were indicative of his second-half performance in Charlottesville, Va. The sophomore guard scored 15 of his team-best 18 points in the second period while shooting 5-of-8 from 3-point range all game.
And none were bigger of course than his final three as his deep triple was made despite good defense by Cavs guard Sammy Zeglinksi — another anomaly in FSU’s year of buzzer-beaters as Snaer’s two game-winners were both registered when he was wide open.
“When it left my hand, I knew it was good,” Miller said.
As for Snaer, he and Xavier Gibson combined for 12 points apiece and the Seminoles shot 51.1-percent from the floor. Virginia, which was 17-0 in games that it scored at least 60 points prior to Thursday night, shot 45.4 percent and was out-rebounded 25-17.
Mike Scott scored 28 points for the Cavaliers but he was held to just one shot attempt during the ‘Noles’ late-game run to victory.
Before the game even tipped off, FSU had already secured a No. 3 seed and first-round bye in next week’s ACC Tournament in Atlanta thanks to a Miami loss the night before. The ‘Noles will play a week from Friday at 9 p.m. in Phillips Arena after they conclude the regular season this Sunday at home against Clemson.