Florida State vs. UVA: Seminole Buzzer-Beater Puts ACC 4th Place Up for Grabs

Roger SagerCorrespondent IMarch 2, 2012

Ian Miller hit the game-winner with 0.8 seconds to go.
Ian Miller hit the game-winner with 0.8 seconds to go.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It was an ending Florida State fans are getting accustomed to and Virginia fans are all too weary of seeing.

Ian Miller, who had a team-high 18 points, drove right, pulled up just inbounds and in front of his bench and drained a well-contested three-pointer with just 0.8 seconds remaining to give his Seminoles an improbable 63-60 win over the Cavaliers on Thursday.

It was the Seminoles' fourth ACC win against no losses by three or less points.  For Virginia it was their fifth loss by three or less in conference play.  

FSU trailed 56-47 after Mike Scott made two technical free throws following the ejection of the 'Noles team leader, Bernard James, for a flagrant two foul.  James and Virginia's Joe Harris became entangled on the floor after Harris crashed into James while attempting to intercept a long, half-court pass.  James kicked Harris in the mid-section as the two attempted to disengage.

Scott would extend the Cavaliers' lead to 11 with another pair of foul shots in the resulting possession.

But the incident appeared to ignite the Seminoles, who gathered two offensive rebounds on their next possession and finally scored on a pair of Michael Snaer free throws with 4:10 left.  That would be the start of a 16-2 run to close out the game.

The 'Noles held Virginia without a basket over the final 5:15.

The Cavaliers overcame a sluggish first half in which they had only two players score more than two points.

Michael Snaer (pictured) and Xavier Gibson each added 12 points in the Seminoles victory.
Michael Snaer (pictured) and Xavier Gibson each added 12 points in the Seminoles victory.Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Trailing 31-20 early in the second half, the Cavs suddenly came alive, going on a 15-2 run that included two three-pointers from Harris (his only baskets of the game) and a three-pointer from Sammy Zeglinski.  Neither Harris or Zeglinski had scored from the field in the first half.

With the 'Hoos within three at 33-30, a near-capacity John Paul Jones Arena saw a rare occurrence.  Mike Scott, who had an ACC career-high 28 points to lead all scorers, grabbed his own miss and appeared to slam home a thunderous dunk while being fouled.

With the crowd going wild, the basket was waived off because the ball never cleared the net.  As Scott slammed the ball through the hoop, he pulled down the rim and as it snapped back in place with the ball still in the net, it catapulted the ball back up through the top and out.  Scott did convert both free throws to cut the lead to one.

Virginia broke away from a 49-47 lead with nine straight points that appeared to give them a safe lead with just over four minutes to play.

But in the final four minutes, the Cavaliers committed four turnovers while missing their only three shots from the field.

Florida State, meanwhile, made five of their last six shots, including three three-pointers. 

The 'Noles comeback also included something you don't see every day.

With under three-and-a-half minutes to play and still trailing by nine, Ian Miller scored six points in one second.

It started with a traditional three-point play as Miller drove to the basket, made the lay-up and was fouled.  After converting the free throw, the Seminoles picked up full court and drew a foul on Joe Harris for pushing off before the ball was inbounded.  Luke Loucks then inbounded to Miller, who hit a three from beyond the arc, and within one second the lead had gone from nine to three.

Jontel Evans would convert a pair of free throws to get the margin back to five with 3:01 to play, but Virginia would not score again.

A Michael Snaer jumper would cut it to three and a Deividas Dulkys three-pointer would tie it with 1:54 to go.

Mike Scott would miss a jumper with 1:11 to go, but the Cavaliers got another possession when Akil Mitchell grabbed the rebound.

UVA coach Tony Bennett shunned the opportunity to go "two for one" in possessions and instead the Cavs used the entire shot clock before Zeglinski drove the left side of the lane and fired a short pass behind and off the hands of Mitchell.

After Florida State made the front court, they called time with 30 seconds to go. 

All three guards handled the ball before it ended up in Miller's hands with nine seconds left.  Miller drove from the left side of the court around a screen and fired with Zeglinski in his face.

The result was one each team has seen numerous times this year.

The Cavaliers played the game with only seven scholarship players dressed as it was announced just before game time that sixth-man Malcolm Brogdon would not play due to a continuing foot injury.

Virginia now travels to Maryland on Sunday while Florida State hosts Clemson the same day.  A Cavaliers win and a Clemson loss will give UVA the fourth-place bye in the upcoming ACC tournament. 

Any other results could bring into play Miami and North Carolina State and various tiebreakers.