February 23, 2007 - by

Florida State Plays Host To NC State Saturday At 1 P.M.

Feb. 23, 2007

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has a 2-1 record against ACC teams from the state of North Carolina this season, closes out its home schedule as it plays host to NC State on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 1:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles game against NC State is their final home game of the season and is Senior Day. Head Coach Leonard Hamilton and his staff will honor a pair of seniors – Al Thornton and Jerel Allen – in a pre-game ceremony. Florida State has won consecutive games against ACC teams from the state of North Carolina with victories over both Wake Forest (Jan. 27, 74-66) at home and Duke (Feb. 4, 68-67) on the road in Durham. The Seminoles also played North Carolina (Jan. 7, 58-84) in their second game of their conference schedule and are scheduled to play the four North Carolina schools only once each season because of the unbalanced league schedule. Florida State enters Saturday’s game against NC State with a 13-3 record at home this season and a 27-6 (.818 winning percentage) record at home in the last two seasons. The Seminoles have won 14 ACC games in the last two seasons with 10 of those wins coming at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center. Following Saturday’s game against NC State, the Seminoles will close out their regular season as they travel to Miami (March 3, 12 Noon) before playing in the 56th annual ACC Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. (March 8-11). With the ACC Tournament being played in the state of Florida for the first time, the Seminoles will not leave the state until they begin post-season play.

THORNTON IS THE TOP CANDIDATE AS ACC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton enters Saturday’s game against NC State quickly putting himself into position to be the first Florida State men’s basketball player to earn ACC Player of the Year honors. Thornton leads the ACC in conference games only scoring (22.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg), 20+ point games (15) and ACC double-doubles (five). He is the ONLY player in the ACC to enter this weekend’s games who ranks in the leagues TOP SEVEN in all-games scoring (second, 19.3 ppg), rebounding (sixth, 7.3 rpg), free throw shooting percentage (sixth, .813) and field goal shooting percentage (seventh, .518).

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat NC State and gain a victory over the Wolfpack for the second time in the last four meetings between the two teams. The Seminoles most recently defeated the Wolfpack, 70-64, on Jan. 26, 2005 in Raleigh;
…Defeat NC State and gain a victory over the Wolfpack at home for the first time since Jan. 23, 1999 when the Seminoles won in the Donald L. Tucker Center, 71-59;
…Defeat NC State and win its sixth ACC game of the season. It would mark the first time since the 1997 and 1998 seasons that the Seminoles had won at least six ACC games in consecutive seasons. Florida State earned a 9-7 ACC record and a fifth place finish in the ACC standings during the 2005-06 season;
…Defeat NC State and win its 18th game of the season. The Seminoles did not win their 18th game of the season a year ago until March 1, 2006 with a victory over then No. 1 ranked Duke in Tallahassee.

FLORIDA STATE TO HONOR BOB SURA AT NC STATE GAME
Fourteen years since leading the sixth-ranked Seminoles to a 25-10 record and a spot in the 1992-93 NCAA Elite Eight, Bob Sura will finally see his jersey raised to the rafters of the Donald L. Tucker Center in honor of his accomplishments on Feb. 24. Sura, who wore the No. 3 jersey for the Seminoles from 1992 to 1995, managed to set and break almost every school and ACC record during his career. Most notably, Sura leads Florida State’s 1,000-point club with the school’s all-time scoring record of 2,130 total points. The former Seminole also holds the record for career field goals made (731); career field goals attempted (1,626) and steals in one game (9). He ranks second in career three-point field goals made (214), career three-point field goals attempted (640), career free throws made (454) and career free throw attempts (696). Sura, who has spent the last twelve years in the NBA, is a member of the 500-rebound club at Florida State as well. In the 119 games he played, he had a field-goal percentage of .450 (731-1,626) and a free throw percentage of .652 (454-696).

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES PLAY WELL IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA
Starting with Saturday’s game against NC State in Tallahassee, the Seminoles will play at least their next three games in the state of Florida against the Wolfpack, at Miami (March 3, 12 Noon) and in at least their first round game against a yet undecided opponent in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Tampa, Fla. (March 8-11). The Seminoles have played 18 games in the Sunshine State and are 15-3 (.833 winning percentage) in those games this season. The Seminoles are 13-3 at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center (.813), 1-0 at Stetson in DeLand, Fla. (Dec. 5, 70-66) and 1-0 at the St Pete Times Forum (Dec. 29, 92-62 vs. Providence).

SEMINOLES AMONG ACC VICTORY LEADERS IN LAST TWO SEASONS
Florida State is one of only seven of the 12 ACC teams which have won at least 14 conference games in the last two seasons. The Seminoles finished with a 9-7 ACC record and earned a fifth place standing in the conference a year ago. Florida State has five ACC wins this season for a total of 14 in the two-year period. The Seminoles’ 14 conference victories in the last two seasons are the most for the program in a two year period since the 1992 and 1993 seasons when the Seminoles had a 23-9 ACC record.

FLORIDA STATE THIRD NATIONALLY IN FREE THROW SHOOTING
Led by eight players who are all shooting .759 or better from the free throw line, the Seminoles are ranked FIRST in the ACC and THIRD in the nation in free throw shooting. Florida State has shot better than 70 percent in 12 of their 14 ACC games. The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game against NC State shooting .783 in ACC play. Should the Seminoles keep up (or improve) their current free throw shooting statistics they would set a school record and finish with one of the five best team free throw shooting percentages in ACC history.

SEMINOLES ON THE BLOCK
Florida State has blocked more shots in 28 games this season (88 / 3.1 bpg) than it did in 30 games during the 2005-06 season (72 / 2.4 bpg). The Seminoles have earned more (or at least as many) blocked shots as their opponents in three of the last four seasons.

SEMINOLES STEALING
Florida State has accumulated 213 steals and is averaging 7.6 steals per game this season. The Seminoles have now earned at least 200 steals in each of the last six seasons and during each of the five seasons of the Leonard Hamilton era at Florida State.

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE
F	#12	Al Thornton (19.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg; 14 pts and 2 asts vs. NC State, Feb. 15, 2006)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (7.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg; 6 pts and 1 reb vs. NC State, Feb. 15, 2006)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (9.6 ppg, 3.2 apg; 5 pts and 2 asts vs. NC State, Feb. 15, 2006)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (5.1 ppg, 2.3 apg; 11 pts and 2 rebs vs. NC State, Feb. 15, 2006)
G	#25	Jason Rich (10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg; 6 pts and 1 asts vs. NC State, Feb. 15, 2006)
...AND TOP RESERVES
G	#11	Jerel Allen (4.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg; 2 rebs and 2 asst. vs NC State Feb. 15, 2006)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (3.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg; 1 reb vs. NC State Feb. 15, 2006)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (2.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg; First career game vs. NC State)

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR NC STATE
F	#11	Gavin Grant (15.1 ppg, 4.2 apg; 5 pts and 3 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 15, 2006)
F	#33	Brandon Costner (16.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State)
F	#34	Ben McCauley (15.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg; 0 pts and 0 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 15, 2006)
G	#4	Courtney Fells (11.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg; 5 pts and 2 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 15, 2006)
G	#14	Engin Atsur (11.9 ppg, 4.9 apg; 19 pts and 8 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 15, 2006)

FLORIDA STATE VS.  NC STATE -- A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: NC State leads 24-15
Last Game: Feb. 15, 2006; at NC State 86, Florida State 64
Last Florida State Win: Jan. 26, 2005; at NC State 64, Florida State 70
Last NC State Win: Feb. 15, 2006; at NC State 86, Florida State 64
Last Florida State Win in Tallahassee: Jan. 23, 1999; at Florida State 71, NC State 59
Last NC State Win in Tallahassee: Jan. 11, 2004; NC State 58, at Florida State 53
Current Streak vs. NC State: NC State has won 1
Leonard Hamilton vs. NC State: 1-7

FLORIDA STATE VS. NC STATE – THE LAST GAME
Engin Atsur had five of North Carolina State’s 13 3-pointers and scored 19 points to help the 21st-ranked Wolfpack avoid their first losing streak of the season with an 86-64 victory over Florida State on Feb. 15, 2006 at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. Cedric Simmons had 14 points, Tony Bethel added 13 and Cameron Bennerman and Andrew Brackman each scored 12 in a balanced effort for the Wolfpack. Alexander Johnson had 15 points and Al Thornton scored 14 for the Seminoles. N.C. State led 29-27 late in the first half before taking control. And, yes, most of the damage was done from long range. Atsur and Brackman made consecutive threes before Atsur capped a 16-0 run with another one, and the margin had ballooned to 18 points. That made it 40-27, and Florida State made only a brief rally after halftime. Ralph Mims converted both free throws to cut the lead to 58-38, and the Seminoles eventually got within 15 midway through the second half.

THORNTON AND SURA – COMING TOGETHER ON SATURDAY
All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton is averaging 19.3. points and 7.3 rebounds this season. The last Seminole to average at least 19 points and 7 rebounds was Bob Sura who averaged 21.2 points and 7.9 rebounds during the 1993-94 season.

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