When Florida State looks back on Friday night's 72-71 loss to VCU, the Seminoles can pinpoint three plays that led to that outcome and all of them can be attributed to poor clock management.
With just a few seconds remaining in regulation, guard Derwin Kitchen had a chance to win the game, but dribbled around too long and didn't get a shot off before the clock ran out.
The same thing happened in overtime, with the Seminoles down one. Kitchen, who probably should have learned from his last potential game-winning possession, dribbled straight to the hoop, could have put the ball up for relatively easy shot, but instead kicked it out to Chris Singleton, who didn't have enough time to release a shot.
Somewhere LSU football coach Les Miles is applauding this clock management.
Oddly, Kitchen had another potential buzzer-beating shot at the end of the first half when Florida State could have cut VCU's 36-31 halftime lead. Make any of these baskets and its Florida State jumping up and down and celebrating at midcourt and not the underdog Rams.
Obviously, the blame will fall on Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton. Prior to the shot at the end of overtime, he opted not to call a timeout to set up a final play. He did call a timeout right before VCU's basket to take the lead in which he could have set up a final play for his team. However, I don't think that play would have included foregoing a 5-foot shot in favor of kicking the ball back out to the top of the perimeter.
"Derwin had a point-blank 5-footer and I'm not sure we could have drawn up a better play that would have given us a better shot than what he had," Hamilton told TBS' Craig Sager after the game. "He elected to pass the ball off and that's the unselfish spirit in him, but that's the way it goes. We practice that all the time. With seven seconds on the clock in a scramble situation like that with him standing in the lane with a 5-foot jump shot, I think I'd take that all day."
The educated guess is that Kitchen either didn't feel comfortable taking the shot and decided to pass it off without realizing how much time was left, or felt like since Singleton had had the hot hand -- he scored the final bucket of regulation and first of overtime -- he might be a better option.
Either way, it's a moment Florida State will have to relive through the various stories and highlights as it defines the ending of their longest tournament run since 1993.
- Florida State