Feb. 3, 2004
By BRENT KALLESTAD
Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the third straight home game, Florida State’s Tim Pickett came on after halftime to lead the Seminoles to a victory over a ranked team.
Pickett scored 25 of his career-high 33 points in the second half Tuesday night and the Seminoles beat No. 15 Georgia Tech 81-65.
“He’s a tremendous scorer, a tough shot maker,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said of Pickett. “If you’ve seen him before you know he’s more than capable of knocking down those shots.”
Pickett was 7-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and made seven free throws without a miss in the second half despite Hewitt switching defenders in hopes of slowing him down.
“Everybody had a try,” Hewitt said.
Pickett wasn’t taking any individual credit.
“We just tried to make them do things they don’t want to do,” he said. “I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to win.”
Florida State point guard Nate Johnson, who had nine assists, acknowledged what Pickett does for the Seminoles.
“When he gets going there’s not too much anybody can do,” Johnson said. “He can get his shot off against anybody. When we need a bucket, we’ll run something to get him the ball.”
The second-half heroics are becoming almost second nature for Pickett.
He scored 22 points after halftime in an overtime win over North Carolina on Jan. 22 and 18 more in the second half in a victory over Wake Forest on Jan. 25.
“I think the coach needs to tell him an hour earlier that the game has started so he can come out and play like that the first half,” teammate Michael Joiner teased. “He’s a different person out there.”
The Seminoles (16-6, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) also made 16 straight free throws in the second half when they broke open a close game with a 14-0 run to take a 73-56 lead as the Yellow Jackets went scoreless for 6:14.
Georgia Tech (16-5, 4-4) went cold from 3-point range after halftime, making just one of 13 tries from beyond the arc while Pickett was putting on a shooting show in addition to getting eight rebounds and three steals.
Georgia Tech fell behind 16-4, but rallied to lead 35-33 at halftime.
Ismail Muhammad led Georgia Tech with 14 points while Jarrett Jack and Marvin Lewis each had 10.
Two free throws by Jack with 12:27 left gave Tech its last lead, 52-51.
Adam Waleskowski’s three-point play put Florida State ahead for good just 10 seconds later.
“I thought we had pretty decent control of the game early in the second half,” Hewitt said. “They established what they wanted to do.”
B.J. Elder, Tech’s scoring leader this season, had nine points and was just 1-of-6 from 3-point range.