Miller hits miracle 3 to defeat Virginia

Florida State was on the brink of a third straight ACC loss, highlighted by the ejecion of Bernard James in the second half. But the 'Noles pulled another rabbit out of their hat, this one courtesy of Ian Miller.

Ian Miller said he hadn't made a buzzer-beater to win a game since high school.

When he shot from the right wing in the final second Thursday night, he didn't need to look.

"When it left my hand, I knew it was good," the sophomore said about the 3-pointer with a hand in his face and 0.8 seconds left that gave No. 22 Florida State a stunning 63-60 victory over No. 24 Virginia.

The Seminoles rallied from 11 points down in the final 4 1/2 minutes for the victory.

Miller matched his career high with 18 points and had 15 after halftime. On the final play, he dribbled time off the clock until darting from near midcourt on the left side to the right wing with Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski just far enough behind to allow Miller to set, step back and let fly.

"He smacked my left hand and everything, but I was locked in," Miller said after making five of six shots in the second half and scoring nine in a game-ending 16-2 burst. "By then it was too late."

It was Miller's fifth 3-pointer and the seventh for the Seminoles (20-9, 11-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their seventh straight in the series and spoiled Senior Night for Mike Scott.

Scott scored 28 points, his career high in an ACC game, for the Cavaliers (21-8, 8-7), who lost for the first time in 18 games this season when scoring 60 points. Jontel Evans added 10 points for Virginia, which played with only seven scholarship players available to coach Tony Bennett.

Michael Snaer and Xavier Gibson added 12 points each for the Seminoles, and Snaer said a turning point that looked like it might help Virginia mightily wound up driving Florida State's rally.

After a steal by Zeglinski, he turned it over at the other end and the Seminoles tried a deep pass down court. Joe Harris gave chase and ran into Bernard James, sending both to the floor hard, with Harris on top of James' foot. He pulled it out and kicked Harris, and the crowd went wild.

After watching the replay and consulting, the officials ejected James, and Scott made a pair of free throws for the flagrant foul, making it 56-47. He then drew a fifth foul on Okaro White, disqualifying White, and made both ends of a one-and-one to give Virginia a 58-47 lead with 4:33 left.

Virginia didn't score another basket.

"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."

It probably hurt no one more than Scott, who was honored before the game, along with fellow seniors Zeglinski and Assane Sene, who is injured.

"We just gave that one away," he said after making 9 of 15 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds. "That was our last chance to play one of the top teams in the ACC. That was our last chance to beat one of the best teams. We had it, but we gave it away."

Snaer started the comeback with a pair of free throws to end a 13-3 run by Virginia. Miller followed with a three-point play after a Virginia turnover and made a 3-pointer after an offensive foul.

That made it 58-55 and, after Evans hit two free throws for Virginia, Snaer made a 10-foot floater and Deividas Dulkys made a 3-pointer, his only basket of the night, to tie it with 1:49 remaining.

"We have a lot of fight in us," Dulkys said.

Neither team scored again until Florida State called a timeout with about 30 seconds to play, worked the ball into Miller's hands and he lost Zeglinski just enough to make a line-drive basket.

A 3-point heave by Zeglinski, also playing his final home game at Virginia, was well off the mark at the buzzer.

The Cavaliers trailed 29-20 at halftime and 31-20 after Gibson's basket to start the second half, then went on an 18-4 run as their other scorers came alive. Scott had only four points in the burst, Harris hit a pair of 3-pointers and Zeglinski hit his first of the night.

Snaer ended the run, but Scott scored the Cavaliers' next three baskets as they opened a 45-40 advantage.

A free throw by Gibson and Miller's 3-pointer pulled the Seminoles to 45-44, but Gibson was called for goaltending on Zeglinski's drive, and Scott followed a miss by Florida State with a fadeaway from about 17 feet. Miller stopped Virginia's run with another 3-pointer, but then Harris hit two free throws after being fouled on a fast break, Zeglinski made a 3-pointer and a bizarre sequence cost the Seminoles dearly.

Almost.

Virginia didn't make another basket, losing its seventh straight to Florida State and for the 10th time in 11 games.

The Cavaliers had only seven scholarship players available because reserve guard Malcolm Brogdon sat out with a foot injury. Three of the players available to Bennett picked up two fouls before halftime, and Virginia stayed in it by converting nine Seminoles turnovers into 10 points.

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