Feb. 11, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won 12 consecutive non-conference home games, plays host to UMass of the Atlantic 10 Conference in its final non-conference game of the regular season Sunday at 5:30. The game will be televised as part of Fox Sports’ Sunday Night ACC Hoops package. The Seminoles are 6-0 at home in non-ACC games this season and have won each of their non-ACC games at the Donald L. Tucker Center since a victory over Shawnee State (Nov. 24, 2004; 88-65) in a second round game in the Corpus Christi Caller Times Challenge. Florida State’s out-of-conference victories at home this season have come against teams from the Southwestern Athletic (Alcorn State, Nov. 21, 85-67; Texas Southern, Dec. 7, 90-59), the Big Ten (Purdue, Nov. 29, 97-57), the Southland (Louisiana Monroe, Dec. 2, 85-62) and the Atlantic Sun (Stetson, Dec. 20, 75-57; Campbell, Dec. 22, 108-73) conferences. Overall, the Seminoles have won seven consecutive and nine of 10 non-conference games this season. The only out-of-conference loss for the Seminoles came at the hands of No. 6/7 Florida (Nov. 25, 66-74) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville. Florida State is 9-2 at home this season (6-0 in none-conference and 3-2 in ACC games) and enters Sunday’s game against the Minutemen having won two straight with conference wins over both Clemson (Feb. 1, 69-59) and Georgia Tech (Feb. 9, 80-79). Following Sunday’s game against UMass, the Seminoles close out the regular season with six consecutive ACC games beginning with a game at No. 15/16 NC State in Raleigh on Wednesday (Feb. 15, 7:00 p.m.).
JUNIOR ALL-ACC CANDIDATE Al Thornton
Junior All-ACC candidate Al Thornton enters Sunday’s game against UMass ranked sixth in the ACC with a career-high .551 field goal shooting percentage, ninth in the ACC with a career-high 7.2 rebounds per game average and 11th in the ACC with a career-high 16.5 points per game average. He has scored in double figures a career-high 17 games this season and has scored 37 points twice – at Boston College (Jan. 14) and at Duke (Feb. 4). Thornton is one of only four players in school history to score 37 or more points in a single game multiple times during his career.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat UMass and win its 15th game of the season. The Seminoles have already won more games this season (14) than they did last season (12-19);
…Defeat UMass and break a three-game losing streak against the Minutemen. The Seminoles have defeated the Minutemen only once in four games with their only victory coming on Dec. 2, 1992;
…Defeat UMass and gain a victory over a team from the state of Massachusetts for the first time this season. The Seminoles fell at Boston College, 90-87, on Jan. 14 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.;
…Defeat UMass and win their 10th non-conference game of the season. The Seminoles enter Sunday’s game against the Minutemen with a 9-1 record in non-ACC game with their only loss coming on the road at Florida. The Seminoles are 6-0 at home in non-ACC games this season;
…Defeat UMass and gain a victory over a team from the Atlantic-10 for the first time since Nov. 25, 2000 when the Seminoles defeated Rhode Island, 86-71, in the third round of the Great Alaska Shootout.
SEMINOLES RECEIVE VOTES IN BOTH ESPN/USA TODAY AND AP POLLS
Florida State earned votes in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll and the Associated Press Media poll this week. It marked the fourth poll this season the Seminoles had received votes in the coaches poll and the first time this season they had earned at least one vote in the media poll.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
Junior Alexander Johnson celebrated his 23rd birthday on Feb. 8; Freshman Brian Hoff celebrated his 19th birthday on Feb. 9; Sophomore Isaiah Swann celebrated his 21st birthday on Feb. 10 and freshman Uche Echefu celebrated his 20th birthday on Feb. 11.
Alexander Johnson AWARDED WITH THE PLAY OF THE DAY
Alexander Johnson’s dunk over Georgia Tech’s D’Andre Bell with 3:08 remaining in the first half of the Seminoles’ victory over the Yellow Jackets was the No. 1 Play of the Day on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Feb. 10. Johnson’s follow-dunk off a missed shot by Jason Rich to tie the game at 77-77 with 2:01 left in the game was the third best play of the day while junior Al Thornton’s circus lay-up in the first half with 12:42 remaining on the clock as the sixth most exciting play of the day. In all, three of the top-10 plays of the day were by Seminole players.
FLORIDA STATE ROLLING WITH AN 80.5 POINTS PER GAME SCORING AVERAGE
Florida State enters Sunday’s game ranked second in the ACC in scoring offense with an 80.5 points per game average. The Seminoles have scored at least 80 points in 10 of their first 20 games of the season and have already scored better than 80 points in more games this season (10) than they did during the entire 2004-05 season (six). Florida State is 7-3 (.700 winning percentage) this season and 25-5 (.833 winning percentage) when they scored at least 80 points during the four-year tenure of Leonard Hamilton. The Seminoles’ only losses this season when they have scored at least 80 points came at No. 2/2 Duke (Feb. 4, 96-97), at No. 17/18 Boston College (Jan. 14, 90-86) and against No. 23/24 North Carolina (Jan. 22, 81-80). The last time the Seminoles average 80 or more points scored in a season was during the 1992-93 Charlie Ward, Bob Sura, Sam Cassell led season when Florida State advanced to within one game of the second NCAA Final Four in school history. Florida State is ranked second in the ACC in scoring after not ranking higher than eighth in the conference in scoring in any of the last four years.
ANOTHER NOTE ON THE SEMINOLES’ SCORING OFFENSE
In ranking second in the ACC scoring with an 80.5 points per game average, the Seminoles are ranked third in the ACC in scoring margin with a +11.2 points per game average and have scored 224 points more than their opponents through the first 20 games of the season.
FLORIDA STATE AVERAGING 10.0 STEALS PER GAME
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against UMass averaging 10.0 steals per game. The Seminoles have earned a total of 38 steals (12.7 spg) since earning 14 in their victory over Clemson (Feb. 1, 69-59). The Seminoles have recorded a total of 199 steals (10.0 spg) in the first 20 games of the 2005-06 season and are quickly approaching their 2004-05 season total of 216 (7.0 spg). Florida State ranked 10th in the 11-team ACC in steals in 2004-05 and currently rank third in the 12-team ACC in the steals category.
A COUPLE OF SEMINOLES’ STEALS NOTES…
…Florida State’s starting five (Thornton, Johnson, Swann, Galloway and Rich) have combined for 148 steals while the Seminoles’ first 20 opponents have a total of 148 steals (7.4 spg);
…Florida State’s starting five (Thornton, Johnson, Swann, Galloway and Rich) have combined for more steals (148) as a unit than both Wake Forest (133) and Virginia (103) as entire teams;
…Florida State already has more steals (199) this season than its 1999-00 (153) and 2000-01 (168) teams accumulated in its entire seasons;
…Florida State’s 14 steals against both Clemson (Feb. 1) and Georgia Tech (Feb. 9) are tied for the sixth highest team steals total in an ACC game in school history. The Seminoles’ 18 steals against NC State is the school record for steals in an ACC game.
FLORIDA STATE FROM THE LINE IN THE LAST TWO GAMES
Florida State is shooting .771 (27-of-35) from the free throw line and has missed only eight free throws in the last two games. The Seminoles outstanding accuracy has allowed the team to pull its season-long free throw shooting percentage to .698 where they rank sixth in the ACC. Florida State ranked ninth in the ACC with a .665 mark during the 2004-05 season from the free throw line. Florida State’s .909 mark (10-of-11) against Duke ranks as the sixth highest mark in an ACC game in school history.
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE... F #12 Al Thornton (16.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg; 7 pts and 2 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) F #32 Alexander Johnson (12.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg; 7 pts and 7 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) G #3 Isaiah Swann (9.1 ppg, 3.0 apg; 5 pts and 2 asts vs. UMass, 2/15/05) G #4 Todd Galloway (7.7 ppg, 3.5 apg; 11 pts and 6 asts vs. UMass, 2/15/05) G #21 Jason Rich (11.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg; 6 pts and 4 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #20 Andrew Wilson (6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg; 3 pts and 2 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) F #25 Diego Romero (4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 0 pts and 0 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) G #10 Ralph Mims (3.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 0 pts and 0 rebs vs. UMass, 2/15/05) G #11 Jerel Allen (4.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg; First career game vs. UMass) F #15 Casaan Breeden (3.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg; First career game vs. UMass) F #41 Uche Echefu (2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg; First career game vs. UMass)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR UMASS F #13 Stephane Lasme (9.2 ppg, 4.3 bpg; 2 pts and 4 blcks vs. Florida State, 2/15/05) F #22 Jeff Viggiano (8.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg; 11 pts and 3 asts vs. Florida State, 2/15/05) C #1 Rashaun Freeman (14.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg; 13 pts and 5 rebs vs. Florida State, 2/15/05) G #14 Chris Love (5.9 ppg, 4.5 apg; First career game against Florida State) G #34 James Life (10.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg; First career game against Florida State)
FLORIDA STATE VS. UMASS — A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: UMass leads, 3-1
Last Game: Feb. 15, 2005; UMass 78, Florida State 68
Last Florida State Win: Dec. 2, 1992; Florida State 67, UMass 64
Last UMass Win: Feb. 15, 2005; UMass 78, Florida State 68
Last Florida State Win In Tallahassee: Dec. 2, 1992; Florida State 67, UMass 64
Last UMass Win In Tallahassee: None
Florida State vs. UMass, Current Streak: UMass has won 3
Leonard Hamilton vs. UMass: 0-1 (at Florida State)
FLORIDA STATE VS. UMASS – THE LAST GAME
Maurice Maxwell scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half when Massachusetts shot 71 percent from the field in a 78-68 win over Florida State on Feb. 15, 2005 at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. The Minutemen trailed 30-27 at halftime but scored 51 points in the second half and shot a season-best 57 percent for the game. Rashaun Freeman scored 13 for UMass, Art Bowers had 12 while Jeff Viggiano and Lawrence Carrier added 11 each. Florida State was led by Von Wafer with 16 points and Todd Galloway with 11. The game was tied at 37-37 with 14:37 to play when Freeman scored six points in a 15-5 run that gave the Minutemen a 52-42 lead with 9:56 to play. Wafer hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Seminoles fought back to within 55-52 with 6:47 to play, but UMass responded with a 13-4 run for a 68-56 lead with 1:27 left. Florida State led by as many as six points, 25-19, in the first half but UMass pulled even at 27-27 before Galloway hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Seminoles their halftime lead.