If the Ohio State-Kentucky game was high dramatics, VCU-Florida State looked a lot more like a basketball mudfight. The Rams and the Seminoles combined for 33 turnovers and plenty of sloppy play throughout the 45 minutes of gametime. FSU didn't have as much trouble with breaking VCU's press as they did simply dribbling the ball in their halfcourt sets. VCU struggled to make their free throws when they looked like they could break away. Florida State had 30 seconds to set up a game-winning play, didn't call timeout...and ended up with a fadeaway heave dribbling away from the basket at the buzzer.
It figures this ugly but dramatic game was decided on an open backdoor layup.
Based on most of the numbers, Florida State should have owned the game. They pummeled the Rams for a +15 rebound advantage, including an astonishing 21 offensive rebounds which led to nearly 20 more possessions. They knocked down 37% of their threes, decently above their average, and it should have been enough to surmount their
But just like Kentucky's defense stepped up to beat, the top-ranked Seminoles defense betrayed them. VCU only put up 101.4 points per 100 possessions, but that's way above the averages Florida State has been giving up all year. Even more damaging was the 46% three point shooting by VCU, as the Rams garnered 36 crucial points from the outside when FSU put on the clamps inside. With Bradford Burgess knocking down every shot he could get from outside (9 for 15 from the field, an unbelievable 6 of 7 from beyond the arc, plus the game winning layup) to finish with 26 points, and Brandon Rozzell (16 points, three three pointers), Jamie Skeen (11 points, 8 rebounds) and Joey Rodriguez (5 points, 10 assists) providing great support, the Rams did just enough to eek out of the victory.
Florida State's offense was its usual stuttering self. Derwin Kitchen had 23 points and 12 rebounds, but he made some curious decisions in the final seconds of regulation and overtime. Chris Singleton added 16 points (but on 18 shots) and Michael Snaer finished with 12.
The Rams move on to face Kansas (who smacked Richmond) in the Elite 8 final. For more reaction from Seminoles fans, check out Tomahawk Nation.