Kitchen lifts Florida State past Ga. Tech

Friday, March 13, 2009 5:20 PM
Last updated 6:39 PM
  • Follow Latest News

ATLANTA - For more than 39 minutes, Florida State and Georgia Tech leaned on high-scoring guards Toney Douglas and Lewis Clinch.

With the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament game on the line in the final seconds, each team had to turn to another guard. Seminoles sophomore Derwin Kitchen delivered; Yellow Jackets freshman Iman Shumpert didn't.

Kitchen's three-point play with 7.7 seconds left on Friday gave the No. 22 Seminoles a 64-62 win over the Yellow Jackets, whose season ended when Shumpert's last-second attempt bounced off the rim.

A relieved Douglas pounded the floor twice as Shumpert and other Georgia Tech players fell to their hands and knees in disappointment.

"He can't hang his head too low," Clinch said of Shumpert. "He's got to get prepared for his future."

Florida State (24-8) ended a streak of 11 straight losses in the quarterfinals while advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 1992, its first year in the league. Douglas had 25 points for the Seminoles, who will face the Tar Heels in Saturday's first semifinal.

"We always want to play the top team in the league and in the country," Douglas said.

The Seminoles barely survived against the worst team in the league. Georgia Tech managed only two conference wins in the regular season and was the No. 12 seed in the tournament.

Clinch scored 25 points for Georgia Tech (12-19), which beat No. 17 Clemson on Thursday and came close to another upset. Clinch was looking for a shot at a possible game-winner.

"Oh yeah, I wanted it at the end," Clinch said. "Unfortunately, I didn't get it but Iman got a good shot off."

Georgia Tech led 62-61, its first lead since 2-0, on Zach Peacock's baseline shot with 29 seconds remaining.

Florida State called a timeout with 24.9 seconds left. With three Georgia Tech defenders surrounding Douglas, the Seminoles had to call for another timeout with 9.9 seconds left.

"When I brought the ball upcourt, they trapped me," Douglas said. "I told my teammates to make them pay for it. ... I guess everybody knew the play was for me."

The revised plan for Kitchen was more of a surprise to Georgia Tech.

"We weren't able to make a stop on the defensive end," Shumpert said. "A lot of that's on my part, just playing the wrong way. ... Douglas was the decoy."

Said Douglas: "They wouldn't expect Kitchen. We just switched. He got the high-percentage shot. ... A lot of teams focus on me, so I look for somebody else who is open."

Kitchen took the inbound pass from Luke Loucks and immediately drove to the basket. Kitchen scored and was fouled by Alade Aminu on his reverse layup. Kitchen made the free throw.

"For Luke to have confidence in me to pass the ball, that was big," Kitchen said. "I saw I had a clear path to the basket."

Clinch and Douglas were the stars until the final minute.

Douglas, from Jonesboro, south of Atlanta, was more accurate, making 11 of 16 shots. Clinch, from Cordele in south Georgia, made only 9 of 23 shots, including seven 3-pointers.

Gani Lawal and Shumpert each had 11 points for Georgia Tech, which had the support of many North Carolina fans in the announced Georgia Dome crowd of 26,352.

Solomon Alabi had 14 points for Florida State. Chris Singleton had five of the Seminoles' seven blocks.

Clinch, who had a career-high 32 points in Georgia Tech's win over Clemson, cut Florida State's lead to 59-56 on his seventh 3-pointer with 4:32 remaining. Aminu added a basket about 25 seconds later, leaving the Yellow Jackets only one point behind the Seminoles.

Two free throws by Peacock with 1:34 remaining left Florida State with a 61-60 lead.

Clinch scored the first basket of the game, but that was Georgia Tech's only lead until the final minute. The Seminoles led 15-6 before Georgia Tech pulled even with a 9-0 run, but Florida State recovered to lead 33-27 at the break and 49-41 about 7 minutes into the second half.

The teams combined for 37 turnovers, including 19 by Florida State.


Search Augusta jobs