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Hokies send FSU home from ACC Tournament

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The Florida State Seminoles will find out their next opponent on Sunday. Unfortunately, their name will not be called for the 68-team NCAA field. Instead, they will have a first round date in the NIT.

Virginia Tech put to rest any chance the Seminoles might have to make a serious run in the ACC Tournament, dispatching FSU 96-85 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on Wednesday. Analysts believe the Seminoles needed at least three wins this week to have a chance for selection to the NCAA tournament.

The Hokies came out firing. After the Seminoles managed to stay close, Virginia Tech ran out to a 30-19 lead with 7:41 left in the half.

After Virginia Tech regained a 10-point lead, Devon Bookert beat the halftime buzzer with a long three-pointer to send FSU into the locker room down by 45-38.

The Hokies shot 60 percent from the field in the half. One of the reasons FSU managed to stay close came from the fact they made only two turnovers in the half.

After falling behind by double digits again, the Seminoles went on a flurry that cut the lead to 57-52 with 14 minutes left. Virginia Tech had an answer, going on a 17-6 run to take a 16-point lead with 9:11 remaining. Florida State never seriously threatened after that.

Bookert led the Seminoles with 19 points off the bench. Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes both had 13.

Seth Allen had 20 points off the Virginia Tech bench. Freshman Justin Robinson added 18.

The Hokies shot well. They connected on 54 percent of their shots, well above their season average of 45 percent.

FSU was only able to convert on 41 percent of their shots. Making matters worse, the Seminoles missed 14 of their 35 free throws.

Florida State was not able to defend without fouling. The Hokies converted 30 of their 37 free throws.

“They exploited our inability to guard the ball, period,” said FSU Coach Leonard Hamilton. “There were times we were in good stances, but their quickness and speed allowed them to get past us and get into the lane to make plays.”

The Seminoles fell to 19-13 on the season and Virginia Tech improved to 19-13. The Hokies will take on third-seeded Miami in the Thursday’s fourth and final game of the day.

In Wednesday’s other action, Pittsburgh outlasted Syracuse, 72-71. Duke outlasted North Carolina State, 92-89 and Georgia Tech overcame an 18-point deficit to eliminate Clemson, 88-85 in overtime.

In Thursday’s game, Pitt takes on top-seeded North Carolina at noon; fourth-seeded Notre Dame faces Duke in the second game; second seed Virginia will play Georgia Tech at 7:00 p.m.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at

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