Best has fatal instinct as Georgia Tech passes up shot to win

March 05, 1993|By Kamon Simpson | Kamon Simpson,Knight-Ridder News Service

ATLANTA -- If Georgia Tech's NCAA tournament bubble burst last night against Florida State -- and there is a strong possibility that it did -- guard Travis Best may have nightmares about the final seconds.

In one of the most bizarre endings to Georgia Tech's strange season, the Yellow Jackets suffered an 83-82 loss to No. 11 Florida State at Alexander Coliseum.

Best's instincts proved fatal in the final five seconds when Georgia Tech had the ball and trailed 83-80. Needing a three-point shot to tie the game, Best instead passed to a wide-open Malcolm Mackey under the goal.

"I knew we needed the three-point shot," Best said. "I moved off a screen and leaned in to take it. Then I saw Malcolm wide open. It was just a natural instinct to pass it. As soon as the ball left my hands, I realized what I had done, and I wanted it back."

Mackey's dunk was impressive. So was Florida State's celebration.

"I wasn't supposed to get the ball," Mackey said. "But we were out of timeouts and we didn't have time to set up a play. The whole game was kind of sloppy that way.

"I figured if I scored a quick basket, they'd have to take the ball out of bounds and we'd have time to foul them."

Wrong. The Seminoles (22-8, 12-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) didn't even have to inbound the ball since only three seconds remained. Georgia Tech all but forfeited its final shot at an upset.

Florida State's final regular-season game was also a chance to erase a two-game losing streak to Duke and North Carolina and to bring back guard Charlie Ward, who had been used sparingly since dislocating his shoulder Jan. 31. Ward played well and did not favor his shoulder.

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