Jan. 28, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which opened its ACC schedule with a victory at Georgia Tech (66-64, Dec. 30), travels to play at Virginia Tech as it plays for its second conference victory away from Tallahassee on Tuesday, January 29 at 9:00 p.m. The Seminoles’ game at Blacksburg marks their first visit to play in Cassell Coliseum since the 2005-06 season – the only game between these two teams last year was a Florida State victory (82-73, Jan. 17, 2007) in Tallahassee. Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech having won eight of the last nine games including three of four since the Hokies joined the ACC for the 2005-06 season. The Seminoles have found success against Virginia Tech on the road as they have won two of the last three games in Blacksburg – a streak that dates back to the 1990-91 season when both teams were members of the old Metro Conference. The Seminoles have lost only twice to Virginia Tech since a victory in Tallahassee on March 2, 1988 – a span of 14 games (Seminoles have won 12 of those 14 games). Beginning with its game at Virginia Tech, the Seminoles will play two of their next three games on the road but will play four of their seven games during the month of February at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center where they have a 10-2 record this season. Following Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech, the Seminoles will play host to No. 5 ranked North Carolina (Feb. 3, 2:00 p.m.) before travelling to play at Miami (Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m.).
DOUGLAS EXTENDS LEAD AS ACC’S CHIEF THIEF
Junior guard Toney Douglas, the top perimeter defender in the ACC, earned 10 steals in two ACC games last week, and enters Tuesday’s game at Virginia Tech as the chief thief in the conference with a single-season career-high 57 steals (2.71 spg) in the Seminoles’ 21 games this season. He earned his ACC career-high of six steals in Florida State’s victory over Virginia (including the game-clinching pick-pocket of All-ACC guard Sean Singletary with 29 seconds remaining in the victory) and earned four thefts against NC State. He is bidding to become the fourth Seminole player (Charlie Ward, 1992; Sam Cassell in 1993; and Tim Pickett in 2003) in school history to lead the ACC in steals since Florida State joined the conference for the 1991-92 season. Douglas has 19 steals in six ACC games this season after earning 14 steals in 11 ACC games last season.
SEMINOLES RANK FIRST NATIONALLY IN FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
Florida State, which has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line in nine of its last 10 games, enters Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech ranked first in the nation and first in the ACC with a current school record .791 free throw shooting mark. The Seminoles led the ACC and ranked ninth nationally last season with a school-record .758 free throw shooting percentage.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Virginia Tech and win its second ACC road game of the season. The Seminoles opened their conference season with a 66-64 victory at Georgia Tech (Dec. 30) and are looking to equal their ACC road win total from the 2006-07 season when they won at both Duke and Miami;
…Defeat Virginia Tech and gain their second consecutive victory over the Hokies. Florida State defeated the Hokies at home last season (82-73, Jan. 17, 2007) in the only meeting between the two teams during the 2006-07 season. The Seminoles and the Hokies will meet only once during the regular season for the second consecutive year.
FLORIDA STATE RANKS FIRST NATIONALLY IN FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech shooting .791 from the free throw line and RANKS FIRST IN THE NATION AND FIRST IN THE ACC in the free throw shooting percentage Category. Florida State shot its ACC season-high of .850 from the line against NC State and has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line in five of this first six conference games of the 2007-08 season. The Seminoles shot a season-high .938 from the free throw line (30-of-32) in defeating La Salle, 81-76, in Tallahassee on Jan. 5. It marked the third time this season the Seminoles shot better than 90 percent from the free throw line (also .935 vs. Cleveland State and .914 vs. Georgia State). Florida State has now shot 70 percent or better in 18 of 21 games; 80 percent or better in six of 21 games and 90 percent or better in three of its 21 games.
FLORIDA STATE FROM THE FREE THROW LINE IN THE LAST TWO SEASONS
Florida State, with four players shooting better than 80 percent from the free throw line in the last two seasons (Isaiah Swann, .816; Toney Douglas, .816; Uche Echefu, .812 and Jason Rich, .810) is the nation’s second best free throw shooting team over the last two seasons. The Seminoles are ranked as the nation’s leaders this season and finished the 2006-07 season ranked ninth nationally. Only Utah State (currently third this season and finished the 2006-07 season ranked second) has shot better from the line in the last two seasons (823 of 1,054, .781 percent).
FLORIDA STATE IS AN ACC TEAM OF DISTINCTION
Florida State is one of only two teams in the ACC with five players who average in double figure scoring in both overall games and conference games only statistics. The Seminoles are paced by guard Toney Douglas (14.1 ppg overall and 16.3 ppg in ACC games), guard Isaiah Swann (12.2 and 10.2), guard Jason Rich (12.0 and 12.0), forward Uche Echefu (11.6 and 12.0) and guard Ralph Mims (10.7 and 11.0). The Seminoles and Clemson are the only two teams in the ACC with five double figure scorers in overall and conference only play.
SEMINOLES GO TO OFFENSIVE GLASS AGAINST NC STATE
Led by four offensive rebounds each by forwards Uche Echefu and Ryan Reid, the Seminoles pulled down a season-high 17 offensive rebounds against NC State on Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles entered their game against the Wolfpack averaging 10.6 offensive rebounds per game and had nearly as many offensive rebounds (17) as they did defensive rebounds (18) in winning the rebound battle against NC State, 35-28. It marked the first time in ACC play this season (and first time since Dec. 22 against Providence) that the smaller Seminoles had won the rebounding battle in a game.
SEMINOLES FINDING SUCCESS AWAY FROM HOME
Florida State enters Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech with three wins away from home. The Seminoles have won two games on their opponents’ home court with victories at Florida (65-51, Nov. 23; the Gators are 18-3 overall and 5-1 in the SEC) and at Georgia Tech in the ACC opener for both teams (66-64, Dec. 30). The Seminoles also have one win at a neutral site against UAB (78-70, Nov. 16; the Blazers and 13-6 and 3-1 in CUSA with a victory against Kentucky).
SEMINOLES CONTINUE THEIR STEALING WAYS
Florida State earned eight steals against NC State in its last game and enters Tuesday’s game against Virginia Tech tied for second in the ACC with 188 total steals. The Seminoles are averaging nearly nine steals (8.95) per game. The Seminoles have earned double digit steals in three different ACC games this season (12 against Georgia Tech and Duke and 11 against Virginia) and in eight of their 21 games this season. Florida State earned a season-high 18 steals in their season opener against Nicholls State. The Seminoles are only 12 steals shy of reaching the 200 mark for the sixth consecutive season under Leonard Hamilton. Two Seminoles – Toney Douglas (57 steals, 2.71 spg) and Ralph Mims (40 steals, 1.90 spg) are ranked first and sixth, respectively, in the ACC in steals and have combined for nearly as many steals together (90) as a pair as NC State has earned as a team this season (99).
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE F #41 Uche Echefu (11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg; 6 pts and 2 rebs against Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007) F #42 Ryan Reid (4.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg; 4 pts and 2 stls vs. Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007) G #3 Isaiah Swann (12.2 ppg, 3.0 apg; 13 pts and 7 asts vs. Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007) G #23 Toney Douglas (14.1 ppg, 2.7 spg; 10 pts and 2 rebs vs. Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007) G #25 Jason Rich (12.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg; 15 pts and 4 rebs vs. Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #10 Ralph Mims (10.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg; 8 pts and 2 asts vs. Virginia Tech, Jan. 7, 2006) F #2 Jordan Demercy (1.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg; First career game against Virginia Tech) F #21 Julian Vaughn (3.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg; First career game against Virginia Tech) F #33 Matt Zitani (1.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg; First career game against Virginia Tech)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR VIRGINIA TECH
F #13 Deron Washington (12.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg; 18 pts and 1 reb vs. Florida State, Jan. 17, 2007)
F #33 J.T. Thompson (4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg; First career game against Florida State)
C #34 Cheick Diakite (2.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg; 0 pts and 1 reb vs. Florida State, Jan. 17, 2007)
G #23 Malcolm Delaney (8.2 ppg, 3.3 apg; First career game against Florida State)
G #40 A.D. Vassallo (15.7 ppg, 1.7 apg; 3 pts and 1 reb vs. Florida State, Jan. 17, 2007)
FLORIDA STATE VS. NC STATE - A SERIES HISTORY The Series: Florida State leads, 22-16 Last Game: Jan. 17, 2007; Florida State 82, Virginia Tech 73 Last Florida State Win: Jan. 17, 2007; Florida State 82, Virginia Tech 73 Last Virginia Tech Win: Feb. 25, 2006; Virginia Tech 72, Florida State 61 Last Florida State Win in Blacksburg: Jan. 4, 2003; Florida State 76, Virginia Tech 69 Last Virginia Tech Win in Blacksburg: Feb. 25, 2006; Virginia Tech 72, Florida State 61 Current Streak: Florida State has won 1 and 8 of last 9 Leonard Hamilton vs. Virginia Tech: 5-1 (4-1 at Florida State)
FLORIDA STATE VS. VIRGINIA TECH – THE LAST MEETING
All-American Al Thornton scored all of his 27 points in the second half as the Seminoles snapped a three-game losing streak with an 82-73 victory over Virginia Tech on Jan. 17, 2007 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. Toney Douglas added 22 points for Florida State. The 6-foot-8 Thornton was limited to just one shot in the first half while his teammates picked up the slack and built a 39-23 lead. Florida State went up 41-23 on a dunk by Thornton following one of his 13 rebounds. Zabian Dowdell had 23 points for the Hokies. Deron Washington added 18 points and Collins had 15 for Virginia Tech, which lost despite shooting 70.8 percent from the field in the second half. Thornton, the ACC’s leading scorer in conference games, had 11 rebounds in the second half while going 8-of-13 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. The Seminoles finished 31-of-34 from the line. Thornton just beat the 35-second shot clock with a 30-foot turnaround jumper that gave Florida State a 68-57 lead with 4:09 left. The Seminoles built a 34-18 lead in the opening 14:41 by hitting 10 of their first 15 shots from the field and making all 10 free throws. Douglas, who scored 14 points in the first half, keyed a 20-5 run that gave the Seminoles a 17-point lead late in the half.