FSU ousts shorthanded Miami

Miami was playing to invigorate its dim NCAA tournament hopes Friday night. The Hurricanes had to do so with their leading scorer stuck on the bench.

With guard Durand Scott declared ineligible by the school before the game for receiving impermissible benefits, the sixth-seeded Hurricanes fell to third-seeded Florida State 82-71 in the last quarterfinal game.

The Seminoles will play Duke in the second semifinal at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Scott had scored 29 points in two games this season against FSU and led the Hurricanes with an average of 12.9 points per game. The school was seeking his immediate reinstatement from the NCAA. Guard Rion Brown of Hinesville started in his place, his first start of the season.

It was the second time this season that a Hurricanes player had to sit out for impermissible benefits violations; center Reggie Johnson missed the Feb. 26 game against FSU for benefits given a family member from a former member of Miami’s coaching staff.

Without Scott, Miami shot 40.6 percent the night after being held to 33.3 percent by Georgia Tech in a 54-36 wrestling match. The Hurricanes shot 43.6 percent for the season in coach Jim Larranaga’s first season.

The Seminoles advanced on the strength of their typically staunch defense and precise 3-point shooting. FSU converted nine of its 16 3-point tries, a 56.3 percent clip. Guard Michael Snaer made four of five 3-pointers and led FSU with 20 points. Guard Ian Miller added 18 points off the bench.

After taking a 36-27 halftime lead, the Seminoles permitted Miami to close to 62-59 with 4:10 to play on a jump shot by forward Kenny Kadji. FSU answered with an 8-0 run over the next two minutes to seal the game.

It will be the Seminoles’ third tournament semifinal since joining the league in 1992. FSU has made one final, a 2009 run powered by Jonesboro High grad Toney Douglas that culminated in a loss to Duke in Atlanta.

The run of coach Leonard Hamilton and his team continues. The Seminoles tied a school record with 12 ACC wins this season, earning Hamilton ACC coach of the year honors for the second time in his career. FSU also swept the four North Carolina schools (Duke, North Carolina, N.C. State and Wake Forest) for the first time in school history.

The Seminoles split their series with Duke, each taking wins on the other’s home court. In Durham on Jan. 21, FSU shot 54.0 percent from the field, the last basket a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Snaer for a 76-73 win. It snapped Duke’s 45-game winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium.