December 26, 2008 - by
Florida State Travels To Sunrise To Play Western Kentucky Sunday At 4 P.M.

Dec. 26, 2008



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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which has won four of its last five games and 11 of its first 13 games of the 2008-09 season, travels to Sunrise, Fla., to face Western Kentucky in the Orange Bowl Classic at the BankAmerica Center on Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 4:00 p.m. The Seminoles’ game against the Hilltoppers is the first game of a one-day doubleheader that will see Florida face Winthrop in the second and final game of the event. Florida State’s game against Western Kentucky is its first since facing No. 3/3 Pittsburgh in Tallahassee on Dec. 21. The Seminoles are playing in the Orange Bowl Classic for the second time in the last three years and are 1-0 in the event after defeating Nebraska, 75-60, on Dec. 31, 2005 at the BankAmerica Center. Florida State won its first seven games of the season before falling at Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge (Dec. 3, 73-59). Following their game against the Wildcats, the Seminoles won four consecutive games before dropping a heartbreaker to Pittsburgh (Dec. 21, 56-48). The Seminoles are playing their fourth of six consecutive games in the state of Florida and their third game on a neutral court during their first 14 games of the season. The Seminoles are 7-1 in games played in the state of Florida and are 2-0 in neutral site games with victories over Cincinnati of the Big East (Nov. 28, 58-47) and Cal of the Pac-10 (Nov. 29, 80-77) in the semifinals and finals of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Following Sunday’s game against Western Kentucky, the Seminoles play host to Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Jan. 3, 4:00 p.m.) in their final non-conference game of the regular season. Florida State opens ACC play against No. 5/5 Duke (Jan. 10, 2:00 p.m.) at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.

ALL-ACC CANDIDATE Toney Douglas IS AN ACC LEADER
Senior All-ACC candidate Toney Douglas, who ranks fifth in the ACC in scoring with a career-high 17.8 points per game scoring average, is the conference leader with seven games of 20+ points or more and is tied for the conference lead with one game of 30 points. He is the only player in the ACC to rank in the top six in scoring (fifth, 17.8 ppg), 3-point field goals (fourth, 2.2 3FGM/Game) and steals (sixth, 1.9 spg). Douglas also leads the ACC in total minutes played (464) after ranking second in the ACC in total minutes played (1,205) as a junior.

LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Western Kentucky and win its 12th game of the 2008-09 season. It would mark the earliest date in school history the Seminoles had won 12 games in a single season and third time under head coach Leonard Hamilton it has won 12 games before the end of the month of December;
…Defeat Western Kentucky and gain its seventh consecutive victory over Western Kentucky. The Seminoles are 6-0 in their six previous meetings with the Hilltoppers dating to the 1973-74 season;
…Defeat Western Kentucky and improve its record to 46-8 (.852 winning percentage) in games against current member of the Sun Belt Conference. The Seminoles last game against a team from the Sun Belt was a 69-50 victory over New Orleans on Dec. 19, 2006 in a game played in Tallahassee;
…Defeat Western Kentucky and win its final game of a calendar year for the fourth consecutive season. The Seminoles defeated Georgia Tech in its first ACC game of the year on Dec. 30, 2007.

FLORIDA STATE IN THE ORANGE BOWL CLASSIC
Florida State will face Western Kentucky in the Orange Bowl Classic – a one game event at the home of the Florida Panthers of the NHL. The Seminoles are 1-0 in the Orange Bowl Classic after taking a 74-60 win over Nebraska (Dec. 31, 2005) during the 2005-06 event.

FLORIDA STATE, WESTERN KENTUCKY AND THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Florida State will play Western Kentucky on Dec. 28 in the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. It marks the first game between the Seminoles and the Hilltoppers since the 1993 NCAA Tournament (March 25, 1993, 81-78 in overtime) when Florida State won in overtime in Charlotte to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Seminoles lost their next game (March 27, 106-81) to Kentucky and were denied the second Final Four appearance in school history.

FLORIDA STATE, WESTERN KENTUCKY AND PROFESSIONAL SPORTS ARENAS
Florida State’s game against Western Kentucky in the BankAmerica Center (home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers) marks the 11th time in the last four seasons the Seminoles’ will play a game in the home of professional sports team. During the 2004-05 season, the Seminoles faced Louisiana State in the Sugar Bowl Classic at the New Orleans Arena (home of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets), played at NC State in a regular season ACC game at the RBC Center (home of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes) and played NC State in the ACC Tournament at the Verizon Center (home of the NHL’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals). During the 2005-06 season, Florida State played Nebraska in the Orange Bowl Classic at the BankAmerica Center (home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers) and at NC State in a regular season ACC game. During the 2006-07 season the Seminoles faced Providence in a regular season game and played against Clemson and North Carolina in the ACC Tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum (home of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning). Last season, the Seminoles traveled to play against Butler in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse (home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers) and against NC State in a regular season ACC games at the RBC Center.

SEMINOLES BOUNCE BACK
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Western Kentucky with an 11-2 record. Following their first loss of the season at Northwestern (Dec. 3, 73-59) the Seminoles bounced back with a 57-55 victory over No. 21 Florida in Tallahassee.

FLORIDA STATE FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Florida State, which is looking to lead the ACC in free throw shooting for the third consecutive season, have made 80 more free throws than its opponents through the first 13 games of the 2008-09 season. On a game-by game basis, the Seminoles have made more free throws than their opponents in five consecutive and 11 of 13 games this season. Florida State is making an average of 17.9 free throws per game after making an average of 15.6 free throws per game during the 2007-08 season. Additionally, the Seminoles have MADE nearly as many free throws (233) as their opponents have ATTEMPTED (240) in the first 13 games of the season.

FLORIDA STATE BLOCKED SHOTS NUMBERS ARE STAGGERING
Florida State, which ranks second in the ACC in blocked shots with 84 and a 6.5 blocked shots per game average, has blocked three times as many shots (84) as its opponents (28) in the first 13 games of the season. Seminole center Solomon Alabi has 26 blocked shots – only two fewer than the Seminoles’ first 13 opponents COMBINED. Florida State has blocked 19 shots in the last two games – an average of 9.5 blocked shots per game – after blocking a season-high 12 shots in its victory over Charleston Southern (Dec. 18, 71-48).

SEMINOLES AMONG ACC LEADERS IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE DEFENSE
Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Western Kentucky ranked third in the ACC in the field goal percentage defense category – head coach Leonard Hamilton’s favorite defensive statistic. The Seminoles have held 10 of their 13 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field and have a field goal percentage defense mark of .368. Wake Forest (.356) and NC State (.366) are ranked first and second, respectively in the ACC statistics. The last time Florida State held its opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field for an entire season was during Hamilton’s first season at Florida State (2002-03) when it held its opponents to a cumulative .391 mark and an average of 66.6 points per game.

FLORIDA STATE ON THE DEFENSIVE
Florida State, considered to be one of the toughest defensive teams in all of college basketball, ranks in the top half of the ACC in four defensive categories. The Seminoles are the only team in the ACC to rank among the top three league teams in scoring defense, blocked shots and field goal percentage defense.

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE
F #31 Chris Singleton (9.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg; 9.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg in two neutral site games)
F #42 Ryan Reid (7.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg; 10.5 ppg and .700 ft shooting percentage in 2 neutral site games)
C #32 Solomon Alabi (7.4 ppg, 2.0 bpg; 5.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg in 2 neutral site games)
G #2 Jordan DeMercy 5.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; averages 19.5 mpg in 2 neutral sites games)
G #23 Toney Douglas (17.8 ppg, 1.9 spg; .923 free throw shooting percentage in 2 neutral site games)
...AND TOP RESERVES
G #3 Luke Loucks (4.1 ppg, 2.4 apg; .571 field goal shooing percentage in 2 neutral site games)
F #1 Xavier Gibson (2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg; 3.5 ppg and 2.0 rpg in 2 neutral site games)
G #4 Deividas Dulkys (2.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg; 3.0 ppg and 1.5 rpg in 2 neutral site games)
G #22 Derwin Kitchen (6.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg; First career game at a neutral site)
G #21 Brian Hoff (0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg; First game of a season at neutral site)
F #41 Uche Echefu (8.2 ppg, 4.3 rpg; 1.000 3FG shooting percentage in 2 neutral site games)

PROBABLE STARTERS FOR WESTERN KENTUCKY
F #1 Sergio Kerusch (16.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg; 10 pts and 16 rebs vs. South Alabama, Dec. 18, 2008)
F #30 Steffphon Pettigrew (9.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg; 17 pts and 12 rebs vs. Louisville, Nov. 30, 2008)
C #40 Jeremy Evans (8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg; 10 pts and 11 rebs vs. Tulane, Dec. 6, 2008)
G #4 A.J. Slaughter (16.1 ppg, 3.5 apg; 21 pts and 4 asts vs. South Alabama, Dec. 18, 2008)
G #20 Orlando Mendez-Valdez (10.8 ppg, 3.3 apg; 20 pts and 4 asts vs. South Alabama, Dec. 18, 2008)

FLORIDA STATE VS. WESTERN KENTUCKY- A SERIES HISTORY
The Series: Florida State leads, 6-0
Last Game: March 25, 1993; Florida State 81, W. Kentucky 78 (ot)
Last Florida State Win: March 25, 1993; Florida State 81, W. Kentucky 78 (ot)
Last Western Kentucky Win: None
Last Florida State Win On Neutral Site: March 25, 1993; Florida State 81, W. Kentucky 78 (ot)
Last Western Kentucky win in Neutral Site: None
Current Streak: Florida State has won 6
Leonard Hamilton vs. Western Kentucky: First Meeting

FLORIDA STATE VS. WESTERN KENTUCKY – THE LAST GAME
Florida State defeated Western Kentucky, 81-78, in overtime in the Southeast Regional semifinals of the 1993 NCAA Tournament at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C. on March 25, 1993. Florida State outscored the Hilltoppers, 12-9, in the overtime period after the two teams were tied at the half (40-40) and at the end of regulation (69-69). The Seminoles placed four players in double figure scoring and were led by Douglas Edwards’ 19 points. He was followed by Bob Sura (17 points), Rodney Dobard (16 Points) and Sam Cassell (12 points). Dobard earned a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Future Heisman Trophy winning quarterback/point guard Charlie Ward scored five points and added four rebounds as Florida State advanced to the regional final where it lost to Kentucky. Darnell Mee, an All-American Third-Team selection by the Associated Press in 1993, scored a game high-21 points to lead Western Kentucky. Edwards (Atlanta in 1993), Sura (Cleveland in 1993), Cassell (in 1993 by the Houston Rockets and Ward (New York Knicks in 1994) were all first round draft choices in the NBA and enjoyed outstanding professional careers.

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