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Seminoles escape with one-point win

Published Oct. 10, 2005

Virginia's Bryant Stith, the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading free-throw shooter, missed two free throws with 2 seconds left Thursday night, allowing No.

23 Florida State to escape with a 64-63 victory.

"I was very confident," Stith said. "I thought I had a pretty good stroke. But the first one went a little bit long, so I tried to take something off of the second, and it went off the front of the rim."

The triumph was the sixth on the road for the Seminoles (17-6, 9-4) in league play, two more than any other first-year team in league history.

"You couldn't ask for a better situation," Virginia coach Jeff Jones said. "Bryant's down right now, but sometimes that happens. There's no need to over-analyze it. He just missed two free throws."

Virginia (11-9, 4-5) appeared in good position to win its fourth consecutive game when Rodney Dobard fouled Stith, sending him to the line for two shots. But Stith, who has hit 85.6 percent of his free throws this season, banged both off the rim. Florida State's Doug Edwards grabbed the rebound on the second miss and held the ball until time expired.

"What are the odds of an 86 percent free-throw shooter missing two like that?" FSU coach Pat Kennedy said. "But when something like that happens, you just count your blessings and go on to the next game."

Sura gave Florida State the lead when he stole a pass by freshman Cory Alexander and drove the length of the court for a layup that made it 63-62 with 59 seconds left.

Sura made one free throw with 22 seconds to go for a two-point lead. Virginia's Junior Burrough hit a foul shot at the 13-second mark to cut it to 64-63.

The Cavaliers fouled Charlie Ward one second later, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Virginia got the rebound and moved down the court, setting up Stith for a 15-foot jumper.

"You look at these games and wonder how we pull them out sometimes," Kennedy said.

The Cavaliers used a 13-2 run late in the first half to take a 36-33 halftime lead. Sam Cassell, who came into the game leading Florida State with an average of 18.9 points, missed his first seven shots before scoring on a breakaway layup with three seconds left.

The Cavaliers stayed on top until a layup by Cassell made it 55-54 with 9:17 to play, and it stayed the close the rest of the way.

Chuck Graham, who made four three-pointers, led the Seminoles with 18 points. Florida State also got 13 from Sura and 10 from Cassell.

Burrough led Virginia with 19. Stith had 16 and Ted Jeffries added 10.