June 21, 1999 - by
Men’s Hoops Proves it Belongs in Big Dance
March 13, 1998

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Florida State played the way it did early in the year,
which was more than good enough to beat Texas Christian.

The 12th-seeded Seminoles, criticized by some for even being in the NCAA
tournament, proved they belong Friday by outrunning the run-and-gun Horned
Frogs, 96-87, in the first round of the Midwest Regional.

Corey Louis and Randell Jackson scored 20 points each, and Louis had 13
rebounds as the Seminoles (18-13) advanced to the second round where they will
meet No. 13 seed Valparaiso on Sunday.

“I think our guys did a tremendous job today of taking care of the
basketball, getting us into the offense and getting the shots we were looking
for,” coach Steve Robinson said. “We really got a lot of high-percentage
shots.”

Jackson scored 16 of his points in the second half and most of them came in
the paint, where Florida State dominated at both ends of the floor.

Lee Nailon had 32 points and eight rebounds for fifth-seeded TCU (27-6), but
fouled out with 4:15 remaining and the Horned Frogs trailing 84-80. Florida
State widened its lead to 89-80 on a tip-in by Louis with 2:47 remaining, then
held on by making free throws after TCU got within 91-87 with just over a
minute to play.

Nailon was very good, making 12 of 22 shots from the floor. But he didn’t
get much help – the other starters were a combined 15 of 38, and the Horned
Frogs wound up shooting just 44 percent.

“We knew coming in they were a good team,” coach Billy Tubbs said.
“Physically they’re very, very good. Today they got things going. We got them
into a running game and they’re probably better at a running game than we
are.”

The Seminoles came in averaging 70 points per game, and their total Friday
was a season high. But Tubbs attributed that style to the fact Florida State
plays in the rugged Atlantic Coast Conference.

Florida State certainly looked comfortable against the TCU press. The
Seminoles made up for 19 turnovers by shooting 55 percent.

After the first half ended 46-all, TCU made just three field goals in the
first eight minutes of the second half. Florida State, meanwhile, opened as
much as a seven-point lead by consistently getting the ball inside.

Jackson said a lot of practice against TCU’s 1-3-1 zone paid off.

“The repetitions working on it and just attacking their defense was a big
key for us, regardless of who was shooting the ball,” he said. “We knew we
would get a high-percentage shot.”

The Seminoles were able to keep control of the game throughout the second
half. TCU made things interesting by getting within four with 1:29 left, but
the Horned Frogs didn’t score again.

Florida State closed the year by losing six of seven games, and as a result
was the lowest-seeded at-large team in the tournament. But the Seminoles played
Friday as they did in starting 13-1, including victories over Connecticut and
Arizona.

“The conversation hasn’t been very favorable about Florida State being in
this tournament,” Robinson said. “I think our kids have responded well.

“By playing well today, we have helped show some people we really did
belong in the tournament.”

TCU was making its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1987. The loss
spoiled a homecoming for Tubbs, who spent 14 years as coach at Oklahoma before
leaving for TCU. Tubbs picked up a technical foul in the second half for
yelling at an official after no foul was called on a shot by Nailon.

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