November 18, 2006 - by

Florida State Plays Host To New Orleans Sunday At 5:00 P.M.

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Nov. 18, 2006

TALLAHASSEE. Fla. –
Florida State, which has won its first three games of the season for the third time in the first five seasons of the Leonard Hamilton era as the Seminoles’ head coach, plays it fourth consecutive home game as it plays host to New Orleans Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles won all three of their games in the Colonial Classic last week as they defeated McNeese State (Nov. 12, 85-65), Illinois State (Nov. 13, 73-59) and SMU (Nov. 14, 59-52) to open their season with three consecutive wins for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Florida State’s game against New Orleans marks its first against the Privateers since the 1989-90 season (Dec. 9, 1989) when the Seminoles gained a 79-77 victory in Tallahassee. Following Sunday’s game against New Orleans, the Seminoles go on the road to face No. 4/5 Pittsburgh (Nov. 24, 7:30 p.m.) and No. 9 Wisconsin (No. 28, 7:30 p.m.) before returning to play at home against Florida (Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m.).

SUNDAY IS A DONATION GAME – RECEIVE A FREE TICKET
Bring a donated baby item for hurricane relief and receive a free ticket to Sunday’s game against New Orleans. All items will be donated to the Greater New Orleans United Way.

SEMINOLES CONTINUE TO EARN HIGH MENTION IN NATIONAL POLLS
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against New Orleans ranked as the nation’s 31st best team according to this week’s Associated Press poll and as the 41st best team in the nation according to the ESPN/USA Today poll. Both polls were released after the Seminoles had won only one game and came before they defeated both Illinois State and SMU. The Seminoles were most recently in the nation’s top 25 when they were ranked 25th in the ESPN/USA Today poll on Dec. 29, 2004. Florida State will face No. /45 Pittsburgh, No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 1 Florida in three straight games following Sunday’s game against New Orleans. The Seminoles are scheduled to face seven teams currently in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 and are currently one of seven ACC teams either ranked in the top 25 or receiving votes and on the cusp of breaking into the top 25 poll.

THORNTON EARNS MVP HONORS AT TALLAHASSEE COLONIAL CLASSIC
All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton was named the Most Valuable Player of the Colonial Classic during which he helped lead the Seminoles to three victories in three games. The senior averaged a tournament-best 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting .548 from the field and .842 from the free throw line. Thornton scored at least 15 points in each of the three games and totaled his season-high of 20 points in the Seminoles’ victory over Illinois State. Also named to the Colonial Classic All-Tournament teams were Thornton’s Seminole teammates Jason Rich and Toney Douglas. It marked the first time in Thornton’s career that he had earned MVP honors in a collegiate tournament.

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat New Orleans and win its fourth game of the season. The Seminoles won their fourth game of the 2005-06 season when they defeated Purdue on Nov. 29 (97-57) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge;
…Defeat New Orleans and win its 10th consecutive regular season game at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles won their final six regular season home games of the 2005-6 season (five ACC wins and one against Massachusetts) and have won their first three regular season games of the 2006-07 season.

FLORIDA STATE SHOOTING WELL FROM THE FIELD
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against New Orleans shooting an even .500 from the field. The Seminoles shot a season-high .533 from the field in their season-opening victory over McNeese State and .528 from the field in their win over Illinois State. Florida State has .639 shooting percentage from the field in the second half of its first three games. Though they have trailed at halftime in only one of their first three games (26-25 vs. SMU), the Seminoles have overcome early deficits to win each of their first three games.

Seminoles' Comebacks
Opponent         Halftime 2nd Half Margin 2nd Half Shooting Pct.  Largest Deficit
McNeese State    36-35    +19 (49-30)     .667 (20-30)            - 11
Illinois State   31-24    +7 (42-35)      .615 (16-26)            - 10
SMU              25-26    +8 (34-26)      .625 (10-16)            - 7

SEMINOLES SHOOTING STRAIGHT FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against New Orleans shooting .745 from the free throw line. The Seminoles have shot better than 72 percent from the line in each of their three games and shot a season-high .762 from the line in their season opening victory over McNeese State. It marks the fourth time in the last two seasons the Seminoles have shot 70 percent or better in three consecutive games. Junior guard Isaiah Swann leads the Seminoles with an improved field goal percentage of nearly 15 percentage points.

Individual Free Throw Marks - Seminoles' Starting Five
Player           2006-07   2005-06    Improvement
Al Thornton     .842      .737        +.105
Isaiah Swann    .800      .654        +.146
Jason Rich      .750      .781        -.031
Toney Douglas   .750      .789        - 039
Uche Echefu     .667      .545        +.122

THORNTON APPROACHING 1,000 CAREER POINTS
All-America, National and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton has scored 52 points in the first three games of the season and now has 883 career points. He needs only 117 points to become only the 38th player in school history to score 1,000 or more career points. Thornton is ranked 50th in scoring in school history and is looking to become only the 48th player in school history to score 900 or more career points.

THORNTON FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
All-America, National and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton has made 14 consecutive free throws and is shooting a team-high .842 (16-of-19) from the free throw line in the first three games of the season.

SEMINOLES IN NON-CONFERENCE HOME GAMES UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State is 33-5 (.868 winning percentage) in non-conference home games under Leonard Hamilton during his now five-year career as the Seminoles’ head coach. The Seminoles enter Sunday’s game against New Orleans having won 15 consecutive non-conference regular season home game at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles non-conference home winning streak began with an 83-52 victory over South Alabama on Dec. 16, 2004.

MIMS IN FIFTH ON SEMINOLES FREE THROW SHOOTING LIST

Junior guard Ralph Mims, who ranks second on the team with six free throws made in the first three games of the season is ranked fifth in school history with his career free throw shooting percentage of .8055. He is one of only five players in school history with a career field goal shooting percentage of better than 80 percent.

Seminoles At 80 Percent Or Above From The Free Throw Line
1.   Ken Leakey           1964-66    75-91      .8241
2.   Granville Arnold     1983-85    161-197    .8172
3.   Tim Pickett          2003-04    140-172    .8139
4.   Jerry Shirley        1963-65    161-198    .8131
5.   Ralph Mims           2005-Pr.   87-108     .8055

SWANN MOVING UP ON STEALS AND ASSISTS CHARTS
Junior guard Isaiah Swann has four steals and two assists in the first three games of the 2006-07 season. In 64 career games as a Seminole, Swann has 75 career steals (1.2 spg) and 151 career assists (2.4 apg). He needs only 25 steals to become only the 22nd player in school history with 100 or more steals and needs only 49 assists to become only the 27th player in school history with 200 or more assists. Swann is looking to become only the 21st player in school history with 100 or more career steals and 200 or more career assists.

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE
F	#12	Al Thornton (17.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg; One of two Seminoles in DF scoring in three 06-07 gms.)
F	#41      Uche Echefu (6.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg; Averaging nearly triple MPG in 06-07 vs. MPG in 05-06)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (7.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; Has made four consecutive FT entering game vs. UNO)
G	#23	Toney Douglas (11.0 ppg, 6.0 apg; One of two Seminoles in DF scoring in three 06-07 gms.)
G	#25	Jason Rich (9.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg; Leader in MPG, has played at least 30 mins. in all 3 gms.)
...AND TOP RESERVES
G	#10	Ralph Mims (6.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg; At least one 3FGM in all three early season gms.)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (8.7 pg, 4.0 rpg; Team leader through three games with five 3FGM)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg; Averaging career-high 12.3 MPG in first 3 gms. of 06-07)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; Tied for fourth on team with 3.0 RPG avg. on 06-07)

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR NEW ORLEANS
	#1	Bo McCalebb (24.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg; 27 points on 12-of-30 FG shooting against Tulane)
	#5	Joey Barnitz (5.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg; 11 points in victory over Jacksonville State)
	#14	Jamie McNeilly (13.0 ppg, 2.5 apg; Made five 3FG for 19 points against Tulane)
	#22	Tim Tillman (5.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg; Career-high 9 rebounds in win over Jacksonville State)
	#45	Shaun Reynolds (11.8 ppg, 5.2 apg; Career-high 24 pts against Hampton in 2K Classic)
	Note - New Orleans does not list positions for its players

FLORIDA STATE VS. NEW ORLEANS SERIES HISTORY
The Series: The series is tied, 2-2
Last Game: Dec. 9, 1989; Florida State 79, UNO 77
Last Florida State Win: Dec. 9, 1989; Florida State 79, UNO 77
Last New Orleans Win: Feb. 21, 1989; UNO83, Florida State 77
Last Florida State Win In Tallahassee: Dec. 9, 1989; Florida State 79, UNO 77
Last New Orleans Win In Tallahassee: None
Current Streak vs. New Orleans: Florida State has won 1
Leonard Hamilton vs. New Orleans: First Meeting

SEMINOLES AGAINST FIRST YEAR HEAD COACHES
Florida State will play five teams with new head coaches in their first years at their respective schools including Sunday’s opponent – New Orleans — during the 2006-07 season. The Seminoles have already defeated Dave Simmons in his first season at McNeese State (Nov. 12, 85-65) and Matt Doherty in his first season at Southern Methodist (Nov. 14, 59-52). Buzz Williams is in his first year at New Orleans while Sidney Lowe is in his first season at NC State and John Dunne is in his first year at St. Peter’s. For Lowe of NC State, Williams of New Orleans and Dunne of St. Peter’s their current coaching jobs mark the first time they have been head coaches at the collegiate level. Doherty is in his sixth season as a head coach on the collegiate level with stops at Notre Dame, North Carolina and Florida Atlantic. The Seminoles’ game against NC State features Lowe and Monte Towe (who is now the associate head coach at NC State) – the former coach at New Orleans who left the Privateers for the Wolfpack in June when Lowe became the head coach at NC State.

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