ATLANTA (AP) — Malcolm Grant says Miami still has a lot of basketball to play in this postseason.
But where? And with what teammates?
Playing without top scorer Durand Scott, Miami couldn’t keep up No. 17 Florida State, falling to the Seminoles 82-71 in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.
Miami ruled Scott ineligible on Friday for receiving impermissible benefits.
Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he was told Scott was ineligible Friday afternoon. He told the team at the pregame meal about four hours before the game.
“”We’ve been in that type of situation before,” said Malcolm Grant, who led Miami with 19 points. “We told (Scott) that we had his back, and we would go out and play our hardest for him.”
Shane Larkin had 16 for Miami (19-12).
While the Seminoles are hoping to improve their seed in the NCAA tournament, Miami is unsure where it stands with the selection committee and if Scott would be eligible for the tournament.
Florida State fans had a suggestion for Miami, chanting “NIT, NIT” in the final seconds.
“I think we’ve played well enough that if we do get selected we can make a run in the tournament,” Larranaga said of his team’s NCAA hopes. “But that’s out of our hands.”
Asked if Scott’s uncertain status could affect the decision by the NCAA tournament selection committee, Larranaga said “I have no idea.”
Michael Snaer had 20 points to lead Florida State (22-9), which will play Duke in Saturday’s semifinals.
“I think we know we have a tremendous opportunity to do something great,” Snaer said of his team’s challenge against Duke, the No. 2 seed and the nation’s No. 6 team.
Grant and the Hurricanes will have to wait until Sunday to know if they’ll make the NCAA field.
Larranaga said his team played well to put itself in position, when it trailed Florida State 62-59.
“I thought we made a nice surge to put ourselves in that position,” Larranaga said. “But they scored on the next possession to go up five, and we didn’t. And then they scored again and now we were back in a hole.”
Miami struggled to score in the first game of the tournament and those struggles continued without Scott. Miami is seeking Scott’s reinstatement from the NCAA.
Friday night sophomore Rion Brown started for Scott and turned in solid performance with 13 points.
Even with Scott, who leads Miami in scoring with his average of 12.9 points per game, the Hurricanes didn’t light up the scoreboard in Thursday’s 54-36 win over Georgia Tech. Scott had 11 points in the game.
Miami couldn’t get it going in the first half against the Seminoles’ man-to-man defense. Miami made only 9 of 32 shots (28.1 percent) in the first 20 minutes. Florida State led 37-26 at halftime after making seven 3-pointers in the half.
Ian Miller had 18 points for the Seminoles.
Florida State is returning to the semifinals after finishing third in the regular season for the third straight year. The Seminoles lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament each of the last two years after falling in the 2009 championship game in Atlanta.
Bernard James and Luke Loucks each had 14 points for Florida State.
“We’re confident in our abilities,” said Snaer, who made four of five 3-point attempts. “We’re playing like it. We know we need all of our pieces and we need each other to win. I can’t wait to get started.”
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