March 19, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Matt Bouldin scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half in helping the Bulldogs close out a 67-60 victory over the ninth-seeded Seminoles in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night.
Steven Gray scored 15 points while Robert Sacre added 13 points and nine rebounds for the ‘Zags (27-6), who nearly squandered an 18-point lead.
Opening the second half down 35-19, Florida State started chipping away and finally got the crowd on its feet after Alabi hit two free throws to make it 51-44 with 6:37 remaining.
The Seminoles eventually cut the lead to 59-54 with 2:21 left when Dulkys banked in a 3-pointer. They had a chance to pull closer but Michael Snaer missed two free throws a minute later.
Bouldin pulled down the rebound and the Bulldogs made 8 of 10 free throws to close out the victory.
“We had nowhere to go but up. We were down in a big hole and we just had to do something,” Dulkys said. “I really thought we had a chance.”
Though disappointed with the loss, Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton hoped his players can learn something from this experience by how composed the Bulldogs were with the game on the line.
“I told our players that we have moved. We have elevated our status. And you can use programs like (Gonzaga) as an example,” Hamilton said. “They are a team that has tremendous amount of courage. … They’ve gotten the most out of their talent, and they ought to be commended for that.”
The Bulldogs’ high level of talent was certainly on display with a near-perfect first-half performance when they picked apart the Seminoles’ vaunted defense.
After giving up the first basket, Gonzaga opened a 24-9 lead before the game was 12 minutes old and never trailed again.
The Bulldogs were so efficient that by the time they opened a 17-7 lead, every Gonzaga starter had scored at least one basket.
Gonzaga frustrated the Seminoles at both ends of the court, while their offense patiently worked the ball around to tire Florida State’s defense. By the time Florida State made its way into the offensive end, it was forced into taking poor shots or – by the time the game appeared to be getting out of hand – awkward 3-point attempts.
The Bulldogs went 21 of 42 from the field to end the Seminoles’ string at 67 games of holding opponents to under 50 percent. They also outrebounded Florida State 38-32.
“It was a monster challenge,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of facing the Seminoles’ defense. “Our guys played with an incredible amount of poise, and they stuck with the game plan.”