Florida State knocks off Xavier 75-70 to reach Sweet 16

At the under-eight media timeout on Sunday night in Nashville, Xavier was in control of the game. It held a nine-point lead and the momentum over No. 9 seed Florida State in the second round of the NCAA tournament, and seemed poised to advance to the Sweet 16.

By the end of the game, it was a very different story.

Florida State rallied back from a 12-point deficit in the final 10 minutes to knock off Xavier 75-70 on Sunday night and earn its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2011.

Xavier didn’t have much trouble with the Seminoles ahead of their final run. With 8:40 left in the game, Xavier forward Tyrique Jones cleaned up a missed Trevon Bluiett bucket, slamming down the dunk to give the Musketeers an 11-point lead entering the final stretch.

Though the Seminoles weren’t out of it. Florida State cranked out a 7-0 run to bring it back within just two points ahead of the final media timeout. Then, just after Xavier star J.P. Macura had fouled out, P.J. Savoy hit a clutch transition 3-pointer to give Florida State its first lead of the second half.

Savoy then extended that to a three-point lead, hitting a pair of free throws after stealing the ball and drawing the foul.

With 21.6 seconds left in the game, Xavier then walked the ball up the court, looking for a final shot. But with seven seconds left Kerem Kanter air-balled an open 3-point look — only Xavier’s field goal attempt in the final five minutes — giving the ball back to Florida State.

The Seminoles hit their final two free throws after a Xavier intentional foul, and then intercepted a deep inbounds pass — Xavier’s sixth turnover since the five-minute mark in the second half — to complete the five-point upset win.

The Seminoles will take on Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 in Los Angeles on Thursday.

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