NCAA

No. 8 Seminoles rally to beat Hokies 28-22

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No. 8 Seminoles rally to beat Hokies 28-22

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- E.J. Manuel hit Rashad Greene with a slant pass that Greene took 39 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds to play and No. 8 Florida State survived a scare to beat Virginia Tech 28-22 on Thursday night.

The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth straight and moved within a victory against Maryland on Nov. 17 of securing a spot in the ACC championship game Dec. 1.

The Hokies (4-6, 2-4) lost for the fifth time in six games and will have to beat Boston College and Virginia in their final regular season games to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th straight year.

The Hokies had gone ahead 22-20 on Cody Journell's 21-yard field goal with 2:19 remaining. The kick capped a 52-yard drive that stalled when Logan Thomas ran for 2 yards on third-and-3 from the 6.

The Hokies limited the Seminoles to 311 yards, more than 200 below their average for the season, and gained possession leading to the go-ahead field goal with a stellar defensive series.

After the Seminoles took over at their 20, Manuel threw incomplete on first down and James Gayle sacked him for a 10-yard loss on second down. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back to the 5 and, when the Seminoles tried running Devonta Freeman to the left, Jack Tyler caught him from behind in the end zone. Freeman tried to throw it, an illegal forward pass, and the safety pulled the Hokies to 20-19.

It also gave them the ball, but when they only managed a field goal, the Seminoles made them pay.

Limited to minus-15 rushing yards for the game, they got 7 from James Wilder Jr. on a fourth-and-1 play from their 41, and Manuel hit Greg Dent for 13 yards two plays later. After Manuel threw a pass away under pressure, he hit Greene on a short slant against a zone defense and Greene took it all the way.

The Seminoles opened a 20-10 lead with a 49-yard touchdown drive after recovering a fumble by Hokies wide receiver Marcus Davis. Manuel completed three passes on the six-play drive, including a 10-yard bullet to Greg Dent in the back of the end zone with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

Virginia Tech replied quickly, driving 80 yards in eight plays. Thomas hit Corey Fuller for 44 and 14 yards on the drive, and ran it in himself from the 5, bulling over several defenders.

The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the third quarter when Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole was hurt and lay face-down and motionless on the field. As the crowd stood in silence, Cole was taken away by ambulance. The school said he had a neck sprain, but had feeling and movement in his extremities.

The Seminoles arrived with the nation's No. 3 scoring offense, averaging nearly 45 points, but the Hokies neutralized it for the first 27 minutes, allowing just a pair of field goals by Dustin Hopkins.

The Seminoles twice started drives near midfield early, and got nothing out of them. The first ended with Donovan Riley's interception of Manuel's pass at the 1, and the second with a three-and-out punt.

But after Thomas drove Virginia Tech 68 yards for the game's first touchdown, giving the Hokies a 10-6 lead, Manuel and the Seminoles -- held to zero yards at that point in the second quarter -- clicked.

Manuel hit Kevin Benjamin for 12 and 17 yards, and then Greene beat Kyle Fuller twice -- for 22 and 25 yards -- to finish a five-play, 71-yard drive in 1:58 to give Florida State a 13-10 lead.

On the Hokies' drive, Thomas connected with Fuller's older brother, Corey, on three third-down plays. The first went for 33 yards on third-and-9, the second for 15 yards on third-and-4 and the last for 4 yards and the touchdown on a perfectly thrown third-and-2 fade to the right corner of the end zone.

Florida State took a 6-3 lead after Tyler Hunter intercepted Thomas' pass at the Hokies 34. Virginia Tech had a chance to tie when it recovered a punt that was fumbled by Hunter at the Seminoles 30 on the next possession, but three plays netted only 4 yards and Cody Journell's 43-yard field goal was wide left.

Second half run by Jenkins and Tillman lifts VCU over George Washington

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USA Today Sports

Second half run by Jenkins and Tillman lifts VCU over George Washington

RICHMOND, Va. -- De'Riante Jenkins and Justin Tillman scored 18 points apiece and VCU took control in the second half to defeat George Washington 87-63 on Saturday.

After slowly stretching a 41-37 halftime lead to double figures, Tillman and Jenkins combined for 16 straight points for the Rams (12-8, 4-3 Atlantic 10), who led 73-55 when Tillman's jumper with 5:20 to play ended that run. That basket started a 16-5 run as the lead reached 27.

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Jonathan Williams added 14 points and Marcus Santos-Silva 11 for VCU, which shot 55 percent from the field and went 16 of 18 from the foul line.

Yuta Watanabe had 19 points and Terry Nolan Jr. 15, combing for seven 3-pointers for the Colonials (9-11, 2-5), who shot a season-high 70 percent in the first half, 28 percent in the second. They made 5 of 9 3s in the first half, 2 of 11 in the second.

Hokies unable to slow down M.J. Walker's Virginia homecoming

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USA Today Sports

Hokies unable to slow down M.J. Walker's Virginia homecoming

BLACKSBURG, Va.  -- M.J. Walker somehow managed to secure 18 tickets out of Florida State's visiting-team allotment to take care of various family members who live in Virginia and wanted to come to Saturday's Florida State-Virginia Tech game.

He also gave them a performance worth remembering.

Walker scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Seminoles to a 91-82 victory over the Hokies on Saturday.

Playing in front of numerous family members from Petersburg, Virginia, and other parts of the commonwealth, Walker came off the bench to hit 8 of 13 from the floor, including four 3-pointers to lift the Seminoles (14-5, 3-4 ACC) to their first league road win of the season.

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"They gave me some energy," Walker said. "I was definitely looking forward to seeing them, but I stayed locked in. I was happy that they came, but I just stayed locked in and continued to play my game."

Braian Angola added 14 points for the Seminoles, who had lost three of their past four games since upsetting North Carolina in Tallahassee on Jan. 3. Terance Mann finished with 12.

Justin Robinson paced the Hokies (13-6, 2-4) with 26 points. Virginia Tech has now lost three straight to Florida State.

The Seminoles led the entire second half. Walker -- a freshman who considered Virginia Tech during the recruiting process -- gave Florida State its biggest lead when he scored on three straight possessions. His jumper with 11:57 remaining capped his spurt and gave the Seminoles a 61-47 lead.

"He's had several good games for us this year, so it's not unlike him to be able to do that," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Walker. "I just think today was one of those days where he was focused. The last couple of games that he's played, he hasn't been as quite as consistent as he had been."

Walker later made the biggest play of the game when he made a steal and laid the ball in with 57 seconds left to push Florida State's lead to 79-70. The Seminoles made 12 of 14 free throws in the final minute to seal it.

For the Hokies, the loss was bittersweet. They shot better than 49 percent for the second straight game and hit 10 3-pointers, but came up short again.

"Our 13 turnovers led to 20 points," Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. "That's hard. Obviously, they shoot a high percentage (53.4 percent). Any team does on live-ball turnovers. In the halfcourt, we need to do a better job -- I would be at the front of the list -- and figure out whatever that is to get more consecutive stops."

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BIG PICTURE

Florida State: The Seminoles possess the depth and length to compete with anyone, but need to shoot well to give themselves a chance to win. They had shot just 27.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in their previous four games, but heated up against Virginia Tech, connecting on 9 of 20.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have now lost two home games in ACC play, and their path to a potential NCAA Tournament bid doesn't get any easier, as they face No. 15 North Carolina on Monday. They will have to pull off some upsets in their final 12 games to get back in the at-large picture for a second straight season.

KOUMADJE A DIFFERENCE

Florida State shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the first time since beating Southern Miss on Dec. 21 -- a span of six games. The Seminoles shot 53.4 percent (31 of 58) against the Hokies, and Hamilton attributed much of that to 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje, who played in just his fifth game since missing 11 games with a foot injury. Koumadje, who made 5 of 6 and scored 10 points in just 15 minutes, is now shooting 63.6 percent from the floor since his return.

"We've been a little cold the last couple of games in terms of shooting the ball from the perimeter," Hamilton said. "I thought we would be a good perimeter-shooting team.

"Where we've been mostly challenged, we didn't have Christ Koumadje, so we didn't have an experienced interior game. Today, Christ being out there gave us a presence offensively and defensively that was welcome."

TECH'S TURNOVERS TOO MUCH

Virginia Tech has made taking care of the ball a point of emphasis in recent practices. Players run on a treadmill for 30 seconds after each turnover committed, and the Hokies' 13 turnovers were fewer than the 19 that they committed in their previous game -- a loss at Louisville on Jan. 13. But that's still too many for Williams, who saw his team commit at least 12 turnovers for the fourth time in six ACC games.

"We have made it more of a priority," he said of taking care of the ball. "What I'm trying to do is figure out how to help them because what I'm doing is not good enough to put them in the right position . The evidence and the stats show that we know what our issues are, and that's what we've got to change."

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