February 27, 2009 - by
No. 23/25 Seminoles Play Host To No. 12/13 Clemson On Saturday At 2 P.M.

Feb. 27, 2009

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#23 Florida State Seminoles (21-7) (8-5 ACC)
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# 12 Clemson Tigers (22-5) (8-5 ACC)
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No. 23/25 Florida State, which has won five of its last eight ACC games and is playing for its first top four ACC finish since the 1992-93 season, plays host to No. 12/13 Clemson on Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. The Seminoles are led by ACC Player of the Year candidate Toney Douglas and ACC Coach of the Year candidate Leonard Hamilton. Douglas is the overall leading scorer in the ACC this season while Hamilton has guided his team to a fourth place standing heading into the final week of the regular season after being picked to finish in 10th place in the ACC standings at ACC Operation Basketball in October. The Seminoles will meet the Tigers for the second time this season after taking a 65-61 victory earlier on the road in Clemson, S.C. Florida State rallied from 19 points down to defeat the then No. 10 ranked Tigers to gain its second road win over a top-10 ranked team in the last three seasons. In playing a ranked Clemson team the Seminoles will attempt to defeat the same ranked teams twice in one season since sweeping the regular season series from nationally ranked North Carolina (No. 5 and No. 10) during the 1991-92 season – the first year in the league for the Seminoles. Florida State’s victory over No. 5 North Carolina on Dec. 15, 1991 (86-74) was its first game, its first victory, its first road victory and its first victory over a ranked team as a member of the ACC. Florida State plays Clemson as a ranked team in its fourth game of the season. The Seminoles were 1-1 (a victory over Virginia and a loss to Wake Forest) when they were ranked 25th in both major national polls during the week of Feb. 9. After a week out of the polls, the Seminoles are ranked 23rd in this week’s Associated Press poll and 25th in this week’s ESPN/USA Today poll. Following Saturday’s game against Clemson, the Seminoles will travel to play at Duke (March 3, 8:00 p.m.) before closing the season at home against Virginia Tech (March 8, 2:00 p.m.).

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Senior guard Toney Douglas has emerged as one of the leading candidates for ACC Player of the Year honors with his play during the entire 2008-09 season but especially with his play during the Seminoles’ run to a top four standing in the ACC race. Douglas is the leader in overall points scored (573), the second leading scorer in overall points per game average (a career-high 20.5 point per game) and the second leading scorer in ACC games (22.8 points per game). He has led a team comprised of eight freshmen and sophomores and only four juniors and seniors to the verge of a top-four finish in the ACC standings. He has scored at least 20 points in 10 of 13 ACC games and has led Florida State to 10 victories away from home (7-3 record in true road games and a 3-0 record in neutral site games) and has guided the Seminoles to within six wins of tying the school-record for wins in a season with 27.

“Florida State’s Toney Douglas continues to put together all-ACC numbers. He had his third straight 20-plus game with 24 points in a 13-point win over Miami and then 22 in a two-point win at Virginia Tech. Douglas was 22-of-23 at the free throw line in the three games. Douglas’ maturity as a true scoring playmaker since his transfer from Auburn has made the Seminoles a legitimate ACC contender.”

…Defeat Clemson and win its ninth ACC game of the season. It would mark the second time under head coach Leonard Hamilton (also in 2005-06) and the fourth time in school history (school record 12 ACC wins in 1992-93 and 11 ACC wins in 1991-92). The Seminoles finished in second place in the league standings in both of those seasons;
…Defeat Clemson and win its 22nd game of the season. It would mark the second time in the last three seasons (also in 2006-07 with a 22-13 record) and the eighth time in school history the Seminoles have won at least 22 games in a single season;
……Defeat Clemson and guarantee itself of a winning record in the ACC with nine wins for the second time in the last four years under head coach Leonard Hamilton and for the fourth time in school history.

“He’s the leader for ACC coach of the year, as the Seminoles are within a game of first place with two weeks left. Barring something cataclysmic, the Seminoles will make the NCAA tournament for the first time under Hamilton since he arrived in Tallahassee in 2002.”

Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton was named the National Coach of the Week by Dick Vitale in his weekly awards announcement on Feb. 23. Said Vitale: “The Seminoles look like lock city to return to the big dance for the first time in over a decade. Florida State scored wins over Miami and Virginia Tech (the latter on the road in a tough environment). With 21 wins, this is turning into a special season for Hamilton and his squad.”

For the second time this season, the Florida State Seminoles were named the National Team of the Week by ESPN college basketball expert Andy Katz on Feb. 23. Said Katz: Just think about this: If North Carolina’s Ty Lawson hadn’t hit a 3-pointer with time expiring to beat Florida State in Tallahassee (and if Florida State could have won in overtime), then the Seminoles would be alone in first place Sunday morning in the ACC. Pause. Yes, the Noles were one shot away from potentially being in first place in the ACC with four games left. OK, who had that call in the preseason? How many people had this one after Florida State lost at Northwestern in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in early December? Yet, here are the Seminoles, a lock for the NCAA tournament, and playing for a potential No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament. FSU gets no breaks from this point forward, either, with road games at Boston College and Duke and home games against Clemson and Virginia Tech. But why fret when the Seminoles have already won at Clemson and Virginia Tech? Nothing is out of reach for a team led by a senior point guard Toney Douglas. The role players are giving the Noles solid performances on a nightly basis. It’s hard to say if there has been less said about a potential ACC champion than this crew.

Florida State enters Saturday’s game against No. 12/13 Clemson with 13 wins over nationally ranked opponents during the first seven years of the Leonard Hamilton era in Tallahassee. Included in those 12 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), No. 4 ranked Florida (70-66, Dec. 3, 2006) and a victory over the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils during the 2002-03 season (75-70, Feb. 2, 2003). The Seminoles defeated No. 21 Florida 57-55 on Dec. 3 – earlier this season in the Donald L. Tucker Center and won at No. 10/10 Clemson 65-51 earlier this season in Clemson, S.C.

Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton has 32 career victories against ranked teams including 10 against top-10 ranked teams at the time of the game. The Seminoles’ most recent victory over a top-10 ranked team came against No. 10/10 Clemson on Feb. 7, 2008. He gained two victories over ranked teams as the head coach at Oklahoma State, 17 as the head coach at Miami and 13 as the Seminoles’ head coach.

F #31 Chris Singleton (7.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg; 5 pts and 6 rebs vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
F #41 Uche Echefu (8.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg; 24 pts and 12 rebs vs. Clemson, Jan. 12, 2008)
C #32 Solomon Alabi (8.2 ppg, 2.1 bpg; 17 pts and 9 rebs vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #22 Derwin Kitchen (8.3 ppg, 2.3 apg; 1 pt and 4 rebs vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #23 Toney Douglas (20.5 ppg, 1.9 spg; 23 pts and 7 rebs vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #2 Jordan DeMercy (3.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 5 pts and 1 stl vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009(
F #1 Xavier Gibson (2.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg; 2 pts and 0 rebs. Vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #3 Luke Loucks (3.6 ppg, 2.3 apg; 3 pts and 5 asts vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #4 Deividas Dulkys (3.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg; 3 pts and 2 stls vs. Clemson, Feb. 7, 2009)
F #42 Ryan Reid (5.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg; 6 pts and 7 rebs vs. Clemson, Feb. 19, 2008)
G #21 Brian Hoff (0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg; pts and 1 reb vs. Clemson, Feb. 19, 2008)

F #35 Trevor Booker (15.2 ppg, 2.2 bpg; 29 pts and 5 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 12, 2008)
C #12 Raymond Sykes (8.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg; 10 pts and 6 rebs vs. Florida State, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #1 K.C. Rivers (14.5 ppg, 6.1 rpg; 12 pts and 6 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 12, 2008)
G #2 Demontez Stitt (8.5 ppg, 3.6 apg; 11 pts and 5 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 7, 2009)
G #22 Terrence Oglesby (13.1 ppg, 2.0 apg; 19 pts and 5 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 12, 2008)

The Series: Florida State leads, 28-24
Last Game: Feb. 7, 2009; Florida State 65, at Clemson 61
Last Florida State Win: Feb. 7, 2009; Florida State 65, at Clemson 61
Last Clemson Win: Jan. 12, 2008; at Clemson 97, Florida State 85 (2 OT)
Last Florida State Win In Tallahassee: Feb. 19, 2008; at Florida State 64, Clemson 55
Last Clemson win in Tallahassee: Jan. 3, 2007; Clemson 88, at Florida State 66
Current Streak: Florida State has won 2
Leonard Hamilton vs. Clemson: 6-9 all at Florida State

Toney Douglas had 23 points, including 12 in Florida State’s 23-4 run in the final nine minutes to lead Florida State to a 65-61 victory over No. 10 ranked Clemson on Feb. 7, 2009 at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C. The Seminoles’ recovered from a 19 point deficit with 14:44 remaining in the game to gain their fifth ACC victory of the season. The Tigers led 57-42 on Trevor Booker’s 3-pointer with nine minutes left when Douglas and the Seminoles got going. Solomon Alabi had 17 points, including a turnaround jumper with 2:03 left that put the Seminoles ahead for good. Alabi, a 7-foot-1 freshman, also had nine rebounds and five blocks. Booker and Demontez Stitt had 11 points each to lead Clemson.

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