Jan. 16, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which plays four of its next five games at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center, plays host to Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. It marks the third consecutive season the Seminoles have played the Hokies at home with Florida State wining the last two games in Tallahassee and seven of their last eight games overall played against the Hokies since 1991 when the two were members of the Metro Conference. Florida State has won four consecutive games against Virginia Tech in games played in Tallahassee and is 2-1 against the Hokies since they joined the ACC in July of 2004. The Seminoles return home after playing two consecutive ACC road games at North Carolina (Jan. 7) and at Georgia Tech (Jan. 13) and will play their first game at home in exactly two weeks after opening their ACC schedule against Clemson (Jan. 3). The Seminoles have 13 regular season games remaining (all against ACC competition) with seven at home and six on the road. Florida State is 9-1 at home this season (.900 winning percentage) with wins over teams from seven different conferences including the nation’s current No. 1 ranked team – Florida of the SEC. The Seminoles defeated the Gators, 70-66, on Dec. 3 in Tallahassee. Following Wednesday night’s game against Virginia Tech, the Seminoles will play host to Miami (Jan. 20, 2:00 p.m.) before venturing back onto the ACC road with a game at Boston College (Jan. 23, 7:00 p.m.).
THORNTON BUILDING HIS RESUME AS THE ACC’S TOP PLAYER
All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton, one of top players in the ACC, enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech averaging a career-high 17.3 points per game and having scored in double figures in all 17 of the Seminoles’ games during the 2006-07 season. He is the sixth-leading scorer in the ACC for the season and is the conference’s leading scorer in ACC games only with a 22.7 points per game scoring average. Thornton has scored at least 20 points (29 against North Carolina on Jan. 7 and 20 against Georgia Tech on Jan. 13) in two of his first three ACC games of the season. His 29 point outburst against the Tar Heels is the most points scored by an ACC player against an ACC team this season.
THORNTON AMONG THE ACC STATISTICAL LEADERS
All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton is the only player to rank in the ACC’s top 10 in scoring (fifth, 17.3 ppg), blocked shots (tenth, 1.35 bpg), offensive rebounds (tied for seventh, 2.65 orpg), field goal percentage (fifth, .547) and free throw percentage (sixth, .822). He also ranks in the league’s top 20 in rebounding (17th, 5.9 orpg).
THORNTON INCREASING HIS SCORING AVERAGE
All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech averaging a career-high 17.3 points per game. He is looking to become the first Seminole since Tim Pickett (during the 2003 season) to average 17 or more points scored per game for an entire season. Pickett earned All-ACC First-Team honors as a senior for the Seminoles. Thornton, the most versatile player in the ACC, has increased his scoring average by more then one point as he as averaged 22.7 points in his last three games.
EMINOLES TO CELEBRATE 72 NATIONAL FINALIST TEAM; HONOR DURHAM
The Florida State Department of Athletics and the Men’s Basketball program will celebrate its illustrious history as it welcomes back members of its 1972 NCAA Tournament National Finalist Team, honors legendary coach and player Hugh Durham by honoring his jersey and recognizes Lenny Hall, the first African-American player in school history at the Seminoles’ game against Miami on Jan. 20. The reunion weekend will honor Hall, Durham (a top player and coach in school history), the 1972 team which barnstormed through the NCAA Tournament before falling in the national championship game to UCLA, as well as all returning members from all the Seminoles’ teams dating back to its first team in 1947.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Virginia Tech and earn its first ACC victory of the season. The Seminoles won nine ACC games and finished in fifth place in the ACC standings with a 9-7 record during the 2005-06 season;
…Defeat Virginia Tech and win its 10th home game of the season. The Seminoles have won at least 10 home games in three of Leonard Hamilton’s first four seasons as their head coach;
…Defeat Virginia Tech and win its fifth consecutive home game against the Hokies. The Seminoles have won every game played in Tallahassee against the Hokies since Feb. 23, 1991 – the Seminoles final season in the Metro Conference;
…Defeat Virginia Tech and gain a win over a ranked team for the second time this season. The Seminoles defeated No. 4/4 Florida (currently ranked No. 1) on Dec. 3 (70-66) in Tallahassee;
…Defeat Virginia Tech and earn a win over a ranked team for the ninth time during the five-year tenure of Head Coach Leonard Hamilton.
FLORIDA STATE VS. RANKED TEAMS
Florida State enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech with eight wins over nationally ranked opponents during the first five years of the Leonard Hamilton era in Tallahassee. Included in those eight wins by Hamilton-coached teams are victories over No. 1 ranked Duke (79-74, March 1, 2006), No. 3 ranked Wake Forest (91-83 in overtime, Jan. 18, 2005) and a victory over the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils during the 2002-03 season (75-70, Feb. 2, 2003). The Seminoles have four wins over top-five teams at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center.
LORIDA STATE AT HOME UNDER HAMILTON
Florida State has won nine of its first 10 home games of the 2006-07 season and has won 17 of its last 21 (.810 winning percentage) since defeating Virginia Tech at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Jan. 7, 2006. The Seminoles won seven of their last eight homes games of the 05-06 season with their only loss coming to South Carolina in the second round of the NIT. Included in that string of victories are wins over five ACC teams (including No. 1 Duke on March 1, 2006), Massachusetts (Feb. 12, 2006) and Butler (March 17 in the first round of the 2006 NIT). Florida State is 2-0 at home against Virginia Tech under Leonard Hamilton and 12-4 (.750 winning percentage) against the Hokies in games played in Tallahassee since Jan. 31, 1970.
Seminoles At Home In Recent Years Seasons Record Notable Wins Last 2 Years 23-4 (.852 winning pct.) 79-74 over No. 1 Duke, March 6, 2006 Last 3 Years 32-11 (.744 winning pct.) 91-83 over No. 3 Wake Forest, Jan. 18, 2005 Last 4 Years 47-14 (.770 winning pct.) 90-81 over No. 7 North Carolina, Jan. 22, 2004
SEMINOLES CONTINUE TO RANK AMONG ACC STEALS LEADERS
Led by junior Isaiah Swann’s career-high 1.82 steals per game average, Florida State is ranked fourth in the ACC in team steals. Swann is ranked eighth in the league statistics entering Wednesday’s game against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles earned 11 steals against Clemson and 10 steals against Georgia Tech and are averaging 9.0 steals per game in their first three ACC games. Florida State earned a season-high 13 steals in its victory over Providence (Nov. 29, 92-62). The Seminoles ranked fourth in the ACC with 262 steals and an 8.7 steals per game average in 2005-06. Florida State averaged 10.0 steals in two games against Virginia Tech last season with Swann earning seven steals in the two games (career-high five on Feb. 25, 2006).
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE F #12 Al Thornton (17.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg; 21 pts and 12 rebs vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 7, 2006) F #41 Uche Echefu (7.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg; 4 pts and 3 rebs vs. Virginia Tech, Feb. 25, 2006) G #3 Isaiah Swann (8.1 ppg, 3.3 apg; 8 pts and 3 asts vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 7, 2006 G #23 Toney Douglas (13.6 ppg, 2.7 apg; First career game against Virginia Tech) G #25 Jason Rich (10.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg; 9 pts and 2 rebs vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 7, 2006) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #10 Ralph Mims (5.4 ppg, 2.4 apg; 8 pts and 2 asts vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 7, 2006) G #11 Jerel Allen (5.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg; 3 pts and 2 rebs vs. Virginia Tech, Feb. 25, 2006) F #15 Casaan Breeden (4.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg; First career game against Virginia Tech) F #42 Ryan Reid (2.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg; First career game against Virginia Tech)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR VIRGINIA TECH F #13 Deron Washington (10.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg; 12 pts and 9 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 25, 2006) F #21 Lewis Witcher (4.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State) F #33 Coleman Collins (7.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg; 16 pts and 7 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 8, 2005) G #1 Zabian Dowdell (17.0 ppg, 3.4 apg; 20 pts and 5 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 25, 2006) G #22 Jamon Gordon (12.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg; 15 pts and 3 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 25, 2006)
FLORIDA STATE VS. VIRGINIA TECH -- A SERIES HISTORY The Series: Florida State leads, 21-16 Last Game: Feb. 25, 2006; at Virginia Tech 72, Florida State 61 Last Florida State Win: Jan. 7, 2006; at Florida State 74, Virginia Tech 68 Last Virginia Tech Win: Feb. 25, 2006; at Virginia Tech 72, Florida State 61 Last Florida State win in Tallahassee: Feb. 25, 2006; at Virginia Tech 72, Florida State 61 Last Virginia Tech win in Tallahassee: Feb. 24, 2990; Virginia Tech 84, at Florida State 74 Current Streak vs. Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech has won 1 Leonard Hamilton vs. Virginia Tech: 4-1 (3-1 at Florida State)
FLORIDA STATE VS. VIRGINIA TECH – THE LAST GAME
Zabian Dowdell scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half and Virginia Tech pulled away midway through the second half to beat Florida State 72-61 on Feb. 25, 2006 in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies had four players in double figures and shot 61.5 percent from the floor in the second half. Jamon Gordon added 15 points for the Hokies, including seven straight when Virginia Tech went ahead to stay. Coleman Collins scored 13 and Deron Washington had 12 points and nine rebounds. Dowdell added five rebounds, five assists and four steals. Alexander Johnson led the Seminoles with 15 points and Al Thornton added 13. The game was tied at 27 at halftime and four times early in the second half. But Gordon gave the Hokies the lead for good at 41-40 with a layup and scored Virginia Tech’s next five points as it led 46-42 with 12:52 left. Florida State got within 53-51 with 7:08 left, but the Hokies used a 7-0 run to rebuild their margin. Dowdell had the last four in the burst on a layup and jumper, and scored 13 points in the final 9:24. Florida State got as close as 60-56 with 3:58 to play, but the Hokies quickly responded with five points in a row and led by at least seven the rest of the way. Virginia Tech made 11 of 14 free throws in the second half.