February 28, 2004 - by
Florida State Plays Host To Duke Sunday At 8 P.M.

Feb. 28, 2004

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State, which has won a school-record tying 15 games and defeated four nationally ranked teams at home this season, plays host to the No. 4.5 ranked Duke Blue Devils on Senior Night in the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. Six graduating seniors — Orenn Fells, Emanuel Gordon, Michael Joiner, Nate Johnson, Mike Mathews and Tim Pickett — will be honored before Sunday’ night’s in a mid-court ceremony. Mathews has already earned his undergraduate degree in sport management (August 2004) while the remaining five are scheduled to earn their degrees in during upcoming commencement ceremonies. Florida State’s game against Duke is their ACC high-tying 11th against a team ranked in either the Associated Press or USA Today/ESPN (or both) top-25 polls. The Seminoles four victories over ranked teams are second to only Duke (five victories over ranked teams) for wins over ranked teams among ACC teams this season. The Seminoles have twice defeated four ranked ACC teams in a single season (1992 and 1993) but have never defeated five ranked ACC teams in a single season. The Seminoles played in the NCAA Tournament in both the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Florida State has defeated Duke in both of the last two games in Tallahassee with victories over then No. 1 ranked Duke (Jan. 6, 2002, 77-76) and the then No. 5 Blue Devils (Feb. 2, 2003, 75-70). The Seminoles’ victory over the top ranked Blue Devils during the 2002 season was the first in school history over the No. 1 ranked team in college basketball.

Senior All-America and ACC Player of the Year candidate Tim Pickett has been named to the District VI All-America First Team by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Pickett earned All-ACC Second Team honors as a junior in 2003 and has been one of the top players in the ACC during the last two seasons. He is ranked among the top five in six different individual conference statistics and is bidding to become the first Seminole to lead the ACC in steals in consecutive seasons. He is joined on the team by Justin Reed of Mississippi, Darius Rice of Miami, Anthony Roberson of Florida and Lawrence Roberts of Mississippi State. Pickett is only the tenth player in school history to earn All-District First Team honors and the first since Terrell Baker in 1998.

…Defeat a top-five ranked Duke team in Tallahassee for the third consecutive season. The Seminoles defeated then No. 1 ranked Duke in 2002 and then No. 5 ranked Duke in 2003;
…Defeat a nationally ranked team for the fifth time this season. The Seminoles have defeated then No. 24/25 Maryland (Dec. 28, 79-75), then No. 7/11 North Carolina (Jan. 22, 90-81 in OT), then No. 10/7 Wake Forest (Jan. 25, 75-70) and then No. 15/16 Georgia Tech (Feb. 3, 81-65). The last time Florida State beat at least five ranked teams in one season was in 1993 when it defeated seven ranked teams;
…Win its 16th game home game of the season to establish a new school record for home victories in a single season. The Seminoles finished with a program best 15-1 record (.938) during the 1974-75 season;
……Win their seventh ACC game of the season. It would mark the highest number of conference wins since the Seminoles won seven home ACC games, 12 league games and finished in second place in the ACC standings during the 1992-93 season.

Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton, who graduated 28 of his 31 seniors players during his ten-year career at the University of Miami, has continued that tradition during his tenure at Florida State. Included in a group of 57 Seminole student athletes who are scheduled to graduate this spring are six seniors on Hamilton’s men’s basketball team this season. Seniors Nate Johnson, Michael Joiner, Mike Mathews and Tim Pickett along with walk-on Orenn Fells will all graduate this spring. Mathews previously earned his degree (August of 2000) and has been taking post-graduate classes while playing for the Seminoles this season. Joiner was on track to graduate last fall but saved his one final required class – Politics in Europe – for this semester and will walk with his class during graduation ceremonies here in the Civic Center in late April. Guard Andrew Wilson, who has been in school for four years, and endured two medical redshirt years, will earn his undergraduate degree in sport management and begin taking post graduate classes this summer. Former point guard Ryan Lowery will also earn his undergraduate degree this spring. The men’s basketball team will be a perfect four-of-four in scholarship seniors earning their degrees under Hamilton.

Sunday night’s game between Florida State and Duke is not only a match-up of two of the top teams in the ACC but it is a match-up of the top-two 3-point shooters in the league over the last two years. Since the beginning of last season when both players entered the league, Florida State’s Pickett has made 174 3-point field goals as compared to Redick of Duke who has made 173. Pickett has made three or more field goals in a single game 32 times and made his career-high of six on three different occasions. Pickett has made five or more 3-pointers in a single game 12 times while Redick has made five or more from the bonusphere nine times.

Florida State, which has won 15 of its 16 home games this season, enters Sunday’s game against Duke looking to win its school record 16th home game of the season. The Seminoles have won six consecutive home games, are 15-1 at home this season and were 9-0 in non-conference home games at the Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center. The Seminoles’ victory over Virginia (Jan. 17, 76-57) pushed their record to 15-1 and tied the school record for wins in a season. Florida State’s 1974-75 team also finished with a 15-1 record.

A victory Sunday against Duke would improve Florida State’s record at home to 16-1 and give it a .941 winning percentage during its regular season home games. The Seminoles have finished with a .900 or better winning percentage 13 times wince the 19954-55 season but have reached the plateau since the 1978-79 season when it finished with a 9-1 record in Tully Gymnasium which is located on the Florida State campus. The Seminoles moved to the TLCCC for the 1981 season. The Seminoles have finished five seasons (most recently during the 1975-76 season) with a perfect record and have lost only one home game during eight different years.

Florida State is 26-6 (.813 winning percentage) in home games under Leonard Hamilton during the last two seasons. The Seminoles have defeated five nationally ranked teams, are 10-5 in conference home games and 16-1 in none-conference home games since Hamilton’s arrival to begin the 2002-03 season. The Seminoles have won 17 of their last 19 games in the Civic Center (.894 winning percentage) and are 18-3 in the facility since defeating No. 5 ranked Duke (Feb. 2, 2003, 75-70). The Seminoles’ only losses during that span have come by a total of 10 points (3.3 ppg) and have come against then No. 15 Maryland (Feb. 12, 2003, 64-72), then No. 12 Wake Forest (Feb. 26, 2003, 60-56) and current No. 14/19 NC State (Jan. 11, 2004; 58-53). In two of those three losses (against Maryland last season and NC State this season) Florida State led within the last four minutes of the game.

Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Duke looking to win its seventh home ACC game of the season which would tie the existing school record for ACC home wins in a single season. The Seminoles won their first seven ACC home games that season (including an 89-88 overtime victory over Duke) to finish with a 12-4 record and a second place finish in the league standings.

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