GREENSBORO, N.C. — Boris Bojanovsky dunked Maryland right out of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Florida State’s 7-foot-3 sophomore took a pass from Okaro White and threw down a dunk with 0.4 seconds left to lift the Seminoles past the Terrapins 67-65 in Thursday’s second round of the ACC tournament, ending Maryland’s six-decade tenure with the league it helped create.
Bojanovsky’s dunk capped a tense final 2 minutes that saw Maryland fight back from an 11-point deficit and twice tie it. But the final basket advanced the ninth-seeded Seminoles (19-12) while marking the Terrapins’ final league game as they head for the Big Ten this summer.
“It might be historical to some other people but it meant very little to us,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We just wanted to go win. It was a very important game for us in terms of where we are.”
Both teams arrived in Greensboro hoping to improve their chances to making it to the NCAA tournament. Now the Seminoles are headed into Friday’s quarterfinals to face sixth-ranked and top-seeded Virginia.
Bojanovsky had a big hand in that, finishing with 12 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. He also came through at the line by hitting two free throws with 36.2 seconds left after Maryland had fought back to tie the game at 63 on Jake Layman’s transition dunk with 1:49 left.
Then, after Dez Wells hit two free throws with 15.1 seconds left to tie it again, Ian Miller sent a pass into the post for White that Layman nearly deflected. White immediately bounced the ball over to Bojanovsky on the left block.
“I had to go reach and catch it like (NFL receiver) Calvin Johnson,” White said. “There was a double when I caught it so I knew Boris had to be open on that back side. And I almost gave him too low of a pass to be a 7-3 guy but he reached down and grabbed it and went up strong.”
Bojanovsky threw it down through contact from Maryland’s Jonathan Graham.
“I mean, it was a great feeling,” Bojanovsky said. “It was an important game for us, so I was really happy.”
Wells’ desperation heave at the horn wasn’t close, sealing a one-and-done final tournament appearance for the eighth-seeded Terrapins.
Miller finished with 17 points to lead the Seminoles, who shot 48 percent for the game and 54 percent after halftime.
Wells and Seth Allen each scored 18 points to lead Maryland (17-15), which was one of the seven charter members when the ACC formed in May 1953. The Terrapins won three tournament titles, the last coming a decade ago here in Greensboro.
“We competed. We knew what it meant to our people,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’re going to miss it. It’s a great league, great coaches. We’re going to miss Greensboro. It was a great tournament, well run. We’re going to miss that part of it. But the good thing is we’re going to another great league, great coaches, great tournament.”
Maryland officially joins the Big Ten on July 1, with Louisville arriving from the American Athletic Conference to take its place.
The Terrapins closed the regular season with an overtime upset of Virginia. But they had to play this one without 11-point scorer Evan Smotrycz due to back spasms that had kept him out of two days of practice, though Turgeon said he expected the 6-9 junior would play until finding out otherwise about 40 minutes before tipoff.
Maryland led 34-32 at halftime behind Allen’s early burst and 43-42 on Wells’ dunk at the 14:34 mark, but the Terps hit a 4-minute scoring drought that opened the door for the Seminoles. Aaron Thomas led the 11-0 charge by jumping in front of a pass near halfcourt for a steal and a breakaway dunk followed by a 3-pointer before Bojanovsky ended the run with a putback to make it 53-43 with 10:34 to play.
Maryland rallied only to suffer its fifth loss by two or fewer points this year.
“It just took all the wind out of me,” Terps big man Charles Mitchell said of Bojanovsky’s dunk. “So many times this year, so many close games we’ve been in and the ball didn’t bounce our way and somebody picked it up and we lost the game. That’s all I was thinking: not again, not again.”
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap