March 24, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) –This was supposed to be a defensive slugfest. Instead, an offensive explosion has the Florida State men’s basketball team one victory away from a trip to the Big Apple.
After beating Georgetown, 101-90, Monday night at the Donald L. Tucker Center, FSU (21-13) will now host Louisiana Tech Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the quarterfinals round of the NIT. The winner of that contest will become one of four teams to earn spots in next week’s NIT semifinals at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Tickets for Wednesday’s game are general admission and cost just $10 — a discounted price from the opening two rounds in Tallahassee. Youth tickets are just $4 and the first 1,000 FSU students in the gates get in free.
Equally matched defensively as squads giving up less than 70 points per game and forcing opponents to shoot around 40 percent all season, the Hoyas-Seminoles showdown was supposed to be a dog fight.
But it became a shootout.
The `Noles eclipsed 90 points for the fourth time this season as they scored the second-most points in an NIT game in school history. On the flip side, the Hoyas (18-15) hadn’t allowed a single opponent to register more than the 86 Kansas hung on them in a Dec. 21, 2013 loss. In fact, Georgetown hadn’t allowed 100 points in regulation in a staggering 13 years.
“All in all, offensively I thought we executed very well,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
Aaron Thomas helped end Georgetown’s streak by matching his career high with 26 points in the triumph, shooting 8-of-10 from the field while adding six rebounds.
And Thomas wasn’t the only hot shooter in garnet and gold as FSU shot 68.8 percent from the field as a team. Devon Bookert hit four of his five shots and all three of his 3-pointers to add a career-best 21 points, five rebounds and nine assists. Ian Miller returned from a foot injury to shoot 4-of-6 from 3-point land and notch 18 points and Okaro White, playing in his school-record 137th game at Florida State, was 5-of-7 from the field with 16 points, three blocks and four rebounds.
“Obviously, you like to have the sum of all your parts working well” Hamilton said. “We haven’t had very many games where everybody was playing well at the same time.”
FSU was 11-of-16 from 3-point range.
“They were making threes no matter no matter what defense we threw at them,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said.
Both teams were in a one-score game before a double technical foul was called on Bojanovsky and Georgetown’s Bradley Hayes with 2:21 left in the first half. For whatever reason, the brief skirmish between the big men served as the spark to fireworks-filled final few minutes in the opening period.
All by the `Noles.
First Miller drained back-to-back 3-pointers and then Bookert’s alley-oop to Smith blew the lid off the Tucker Center as a raucous Tallahassee crowd jumped to its feet. Following two Hoyas free-throws, Thomas was fouled on his made triple and the resulting four-point play propelled FSU into halftime with a 48-35 lead.
In the first half, FSU set an offensive tone by shooting 64 percent — highlighted by the 12-2 run to close the frame.
After the break, Georgetown’s 7-2 run halted any would-be carryover momentum from the game’s first 20 minutes. But it wouldn’t be enough as a 50-42 score with 17:49 left in the game was as close as the Hoyas would get as the `Noles would never lead by less than eight.
“I think that is just the result of every one playing selfless and just looking to make a play for someone else,” Bookert said. “That freed up a lot of people.”
To purchase tickets to Wednesday’s game, call 1-888-FSU-NOLE or by clicking the graphic below.