January 16, 2004 - by
Florida State Plays At Virginia Sunday At 1 P.M.

Jan. 16, 2004

Florida State, which won 11 of its first 12 games, travels to Virginia to play the Cavaliers in its second conference road game of the season. The Seminoles defeated then No. 24 ranked Maryland (79-75, Dec. 28) in their ACC opener and will play Virginia in search of their second league victory. Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Virginia as one of the ACC’s top defense teams as it ranks among the league’s top teams in nearly every statistical category. The Seminoles are the ACC’s third ranked team in scoring defense (59.1 ppg), third in field goal percentage defense (.377), third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.288) and fifth in rebounding margin (+4.4). Florida State has allowed a total of 111 points (an average of 55.5 points per game) in its last two conference games – the first time since the Seminoles joined the ACC they have allowed less than 60 points in consecutive games. Florida State’s game against Virginia marks the second consecutive conference road game of the season – marking the first of two times this season the Seminoles play back-to-back league games on the road. Following Sunday’s game against Virginia, the Seminoles play host to North Carolina (Jan. 22, 7 p.m.) and Wake Forest (Jan. 25, 1 p.m.) at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center.

Diego Romero TO REDSHIRT
Following consultation with his family and the Seminole coaching staff, junior forward Diego Romero has decided to redshirt the 2003-04 season. He will begin play at the start of the 2004-05 season with two full years of eligibility remaining after attending Lon Morris Junior College (2000-01 through 2001-02) and transferring to Florida State during the summer of 2003. Romero’s eligibility was held up by the NCAA who questioned his participation on a club team in his native Argentina prior to his enrollment at Lon Morris. The NCAA Management Council at the NCAA’s annual convention in Nashville declared him eligible Jan. 12.

Senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett, who ranks first in the ACC in 3-point field goals made (47) and second in 3-point field goal percentage (.398) and total steals (39), enters Sunday’s game against Virginia as Florida State’s leader in scoring (14.1 ppg), 3-point field goals made (47), 3-point field goals attempted (118), field goals made (79), field goals attempted (191) and steals (39). Pickett scored 16 points in his first career game against Savannah State Nov. 24, 2002 and has been Florida State’s leading scorer ever since. He led the Seminoles with a 17.1 points per game average as a junior.

…Win its first ACC road game since March 3, 2001 and break a 17-game conference road-losing streak. The Seminoles last won on the road at Clemson in their final league road game of the 2000-01 season;
…Defeat Virginia at University Hall for the first time since Dec. 1, 1998. The Seminoles defeated the Cavaliers, 72-59, in the ACC season opener for both teams;
…Improve its record to 2-2 in the ACC and have a .500 record or better in conference play for the first time since the 1999-00 season when the Seminoles also won two of their first four league games;
…Win its 13th game of the season and come within one of its total of 14 victories it earned during the 2002-03 season.

Florida State has taken on the personality of one of the top defensive teams in the ACC since the arrival of Head Coach Leonard Hamilton to begin the 2002-03 season. The Seminoles enter Sunday’s game against Virginia ranked in the top five in four different defensive statistical categories. The team is ranked in the top three in field goal percentage defense, scoring defense and 3-point field goal percentage defense. The Seminoles ranked second in the ACC (and ranked seventh nationally) in field goal percentage defense last season and led the ACC in scoring defense.

Led by two steals each by senior All-America candidate Tim Pickett and freshman Von Wafer, Florida State recorded 10 steals against Clemson. It marked the seventh time this season the Seminoles had earned 10 or more steals in a single game this season. The team earned a season-high 18 steals in its victory over Nicholls State (Nov. 26) and had 14 in its victory over Maryland. The Seminoles’ 18 steals against Nicholls State is tied for the third highest single game total by an ACC team this season. The Seminoles enter Sunday’s game ranked sixth in the ACC with an 8.8 steals per game average. Florida State has more steals during the last 45 games (414 — all games under Leonard Hamilton) than it had in the previous two years and 59 games (408 combined in 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons)

Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Virginia shooting an ACC leading .401 from the 3-point line. The Seminoles are looking to shoot above 40 percent from the 3-point line for only the third time in school history and for the first time since the 1987-88 season. Led by junior All-ACC candidate Nate Johnson’s perfect six-of-six performance form the 3-point line against Stetson, the Seminoles made a school record 17 shots from the bonusphere in defeating the Hatters.

Entering Sunday’s game against Virginia, nine different Seminoles are averaging more than 12 minutes played per game while four – starters Tim Pickett (27.4), Nate Johnson (25.3), Anthony Richardson (24.1) and Michael Joiner (20.9) — are averaging more than 20 minutes played per game.

Florida State’s heralded trio of freshman – Alexander Johnson, Von Wafer, and Al Thornton have made quite a splash for the Seminoles during the first 16 games of the season. Johnson enters Sunday’s game against Virginia as the Seminoles’ third leading scorer and is shooting .640 from the field while Wafer is Florida State’s fourth leading scorer and is ranked third on the team in 3-point field goals made with 19 and Thornton is averaging nearly 10 minutes played per game and shooting a team-leading .636 from the field.

…Fla. State is ranked 11th in the nation in field goal percentage defense with a .379 mark;
…Fla. State is ranked 15th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage with a .407 mark;
…Fla. State is ranked 16th in the nation with a 3-points field goals made per game average of 8.7.

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