The raucous atmosphere finally settled, but few people left happy. There was no last-second shot, no rushing the court, no celebration of another first-time feat.
But there was also no time for Florida State (19-8, 10-3 ACC) to bemoan their fate.
Moments after a 74-66 loss of Duke on Thursday night knocked them out of first place in the league, the Seminoles knew they had another emotional game waiting Sunday in Miami.
"We've got to forget about this game," Florida State guard Michael Snaer said. "It's too much at stake. ... The big thing that I saw from our guys is that nobody's just too down on themselves. We know that it was a hard-fought game. We know that they're a really good team. And we know that we've got so much more at stake than to just worry about this loss."
The next few days could be the most important ones of the season for the Seminoles. They have to try to avoid letting the Duke loss, which spoiled one of the loudest crowds and greatest home-game preambles in school history, turn into more losses. Florida State is still in good position to finish third in the ACC standings, which would allow them to avoid the possibility of having to beat both Duke and North Carolina to reach the ACC tournament final.
The Seminoles have to travel Sunday to face the Hurricanes, a team that has lost six consecutive games to them and will be primed for the kind of revenge Duke exacted Thursday night. Miami needs this game to have any hope of remaining on the bubble for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
FSU needs this game to reassure itself that it can rebound from adversity and not lose confidence. After Miami, the Seminoles have to play next week at Virginia, which is going to be equally tough. They need wins to improve their postseason seeding.
"We lost one game, and we have three more to go," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I don't think many people expected us to be here in the first place."
Beating Miami will require a different game plan from the Seminoles. The Hurricanes don't have the trio of guards that Duke has, but they have burly center Reggie Johnson and enough defensive-minded players to keep the game in a half-court style and make the Seminoles hit shots from the perimeter. Florida State couldn't do that well enough against Duke.
TRENDING: FSU entered Thursday ranked first nationally in field-goal percentage defense (.362), and it has also been effective in preventing 3-point baskets. No team had more than 11 treys against the Seminoles, but Duke shattered that mark by going 13 of 28 from 3-point range and shooting 43 percent overall.
As had been feared, Florida State allowed a setback loss to Duke at home Thursday to linger on the…