Jan. 10, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State, which defeated Virginia Tech to win its ACC home opener in its last game, travels to play at Virginia on Wednesday Jan. 11 at 7:00 p.m. The Seminoles enter their game against Virginia having won eight of their last nine games including two of their last three games played away from Tallahassee. Florida State’s game at Virginia is its first of two on the road this week – it also plays at Boston College Saturday afternoon. The Seminoles’ two-game ACC road swing is the only time this season they play consecutive road game in conference play. It marks the second time of two times the Seminoles play consecutive road games during the regular season- the first time came vs. Nebraska in the Orange Bowl Classic (Dec. 31, 74-60) and at Clemson in their ACC opener (Jan. 4, 55-61). Florida State enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia with a 10-2 record – it is 7-0 at home, 1-2 in road games and 2-0 while playing on a neutral site. Following their games against Virginia, the Seminoles travel to play at Boston College Saturday. Florida State’s next home game comes against North Carolina on Jan. 22.
THORNTON ENJOYS OUTSTANDING OPENING WEEK IN CONFERENCE PLAY
Junior All-ACC candidate Al Thornton averaged a double-double of 16.5 points and 10.0 rebounds in two games last week as the Seminoles improved their record to 10-2 and split their first two ACC games. Thornton scored his fifth double-double of the season as he scored a game-high 21 points and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds in leading Florida State to a 74-68 victory over Virginia Tech in its conference home opener. Thornton’s team-high fifth ACC double-double of the season came at a very opportune time for the Seminoles. He willed the Seminoles to gain their third consecutive victory in their ACC home opener and evened their ACC record at 1-1. In two games during the week, Thornton averaged a double-double, shot .541 (13-of-24) from the field and .846 (11-of-13) from the free throw line. He played 35 minutes against Clemson and 39 against Virginia Tech to average 37.0 minutes per game. Thornton, who is averaging a team-high 14.8 points per game, has earned three double-doubles in the last five games and has scored in double figures in 10 of the Seminoles’ 12 games this season.
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat Virginia and win in Charlottesville for the first time since Dec. 1, 1998. The Seminoles have lost six consecutive games in University Hall;
…Defeat Virginia and gain its second ACC road win in its last eight ACC road games. The Seminoles most recently won an ACC game on the road Jan. 26, 2005 at NC State;
…Defeat Virginia and win its 11th game of the 2005-06 season. The Seminoles did not earn their 11th victory of the 2004-05 season until they defeated NC State on Jan. 26 in their 20th games of the season;
…Defeat Virginia and improve its ACC record to 2-1. The Seminoles have not won two of their first three ACC games since the beginning of the 1999-2000 conference schedule when they defeated Wake Forest and Clemson to open up at 2-0 before falling at Duke to move their record to 2-1;
…Defeat Virginia and win back-to back regular season ACC games for the first time since Feb. 14 and 17, 2004 when it defeated Clemson (65-52) and Virginia (76-57) in consecutive games in Tallahassee.
FLORIDA STATE RECEIVES VOTES IN THIS WEEK’S ESPN/USA TODAY POLL
Florida State received two votes in this week’s ESPN/USA Today men’s basketball national coaches’ poll this week. The Seminoles are ranked as the nation’s 45th best team and are among seven ACC teams included in the poll. It marks the second consecutive week the Seminoles have earned votes in the coaches’ poll – last week the Seminoles earned four votes. Florida State most recently earned a national ranking of No. 25 during the week of Dec. 29, 2003. The Seminoles’ highest national ranking of No. 2 came in the Associated Press poll for three weeks at the beginning of the 1972-73 season.
MIMS BACK ON TOP OF ACC FOR TOP FREE THROW PERCENTAGE
Sophomore Ralph Mims, who was a perfect six-of-six from the free throw line in the Seminoles’ victory over Virginia Tech, enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia as the ACC leader with a career-high .939 free throw shooting percentage. Mims qualifies as the conference leader with an average of 2.58 made free throws per game – the minimum to qualify for the leader board is 2.5 made free throws per game. Mims is the only ACC player who qualifies with enough attempts that is shooting better than 90 percent from the free throw line.
SEMINOLES SHOOTING WELL FROM THE FREE THROW LINE
Florida State enjoyed its top free throw shooting night of the season as it shot 80 percent from the line in its victory over Virginia Tech. The Seminoles shot .808 in the second half (21-of-26) including a string of six consecutive to close out the game. Three Seminoles – Isaiah Swann (with 35 seconds left to make the score 70-66), Ralph Mims (with 24 seconds left to make the score 72-68) and Andrew Wilson (with six seconds left to make the score 74-68) – were perfect from the line inside the final minute of the victory. Florida State made eight of its last nine free throw attempts within the last 5:37 of the game to seal its first conference victory of the season. As a team, the Seminoles are shooting .707 from the free throw line in the last four games.
A STATISTICAL ANOMALY AGAINST VIRGINIA TECH
Florida State defeated Virginia Tech on Saturday night despite shooting lower from the field (.429-.452), lower from the free throw line (.800-.852) and lower from the 3-point line (.308-.412) than the Hokies. The Seminoles made more field goals (21-19), had more rebounds (32-21, +11), committed fewer turnovers (13-17) and had more steals (11-8) than the Hokies in gaining their second straight victory over Virginia Tech as a member of the ACC.
SEMINOLES CONTINUE TO RANK AMONG ACC STEALS LEADERS
Florida State earned 11 steals in its victory over Virginia Tech – to exactly meet its season average and keep its lofty ACC ranking up among the top teams in the league. The Seminoles enter Wednesday’s game against Virginia ranked second in the ACC with an 11.00 steals per game average and are about as close to the top ranked Clemson Tigers as you can get. Florida State averages 11.00 steals per game while Clemson leads the ACC with an 11.07 steals per game average.
JUST ONE BAROMETER OF THE SEMINOLES’ EARLY SEASON SUCCESS IN 2005-06
Florida State enters Wednesday’s game against Virginia ranked third in the ACC in field goal percentage defense with a .392 mark through its first 12 games of the season. The Seminoles’ improved field goal percentage defense is just one of the barometers of the Seminoles’ success so far this season. Stetson, which shot .474 from the field against the Seminoles on Dec. 20, is the only team to shoot above 46 percent from the field against Florida State this season. The Seminoles are allowing an average of 20.5 field goals made per game this season as compared to allowing 24.1 per game during the 2004-05 season. Seminole Head Coach Leonard Hamilton led Miami to the No. 1 national ranking in field goal percentage defense during the 1997-98 season. The Hurricanes ranked in the nation’s top 25 in field goal percentage defense in each of his final four seasons at Miami.
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR FLORIDA STATE... F #12 Al Thornton (14.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg; 10 pts and 1 reb vs. Virginia, 3/6/05) F #32 Alexander Johnson (10.7 ppg, 5.3 ppg; 16 pts and 3 rebs vs. Virginia, 2/17/04) G #3 Isaiah Swann (7.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg; 7 pts and 2 stls vs. Virginia, 2/90/05) G #4 Todd Galloway (7.6 ppg, 3.5 apg; 8 pts and 2 rebs vs. Virginia, 3/5/05) G #21 Jason Rich (9.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg; 10 pts and 5 rebs vs. Virginia, 2/9/05) ...AND TOP RESERVES G #20 Andrew Wilson (7.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg; 9 pts and 7 rebs vs. Virginia, 3/6/05) F #25 Diego Romero (5.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 2 pts and 1 reb vs. Virginia, 3/6/05) G #10 Ralph Mims (5.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg; 2 pts and 1 reb vs. Virginia, 3/6/05) G #11 Jerel Allen (4.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg; First career game vs. Virginia) F #15 Casaan Breeden (4.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg; First career game vs. Virginia) F #41 Uche Echefu (3.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg; First career game vs. Virginia)
PROBABLE STARTERS FOR VIRGINIA F #11 Laurynas Mikalauskas (5.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State) F #33 Jason Cain (8.9 ppg. 8.3 rpg; 4 pts and 1 reb vs. Florida State, 2/9/05) F/G #24 Mamadi Diane (8.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State, 2/9/05) G #2 J.R. Reynolds (14.5 ppg, 3.6 apg; 12 pts and 3 asts vs. Florida State, 2/9/05) G #44 Sean Singletary (17.4 ppg, 4.3 apg; 11 pts and 6 rebs vs. Florida State, 2/9/05)
FLORIDA STATE VS. VIRGINIA -- A SERIES HISTORY The Series: Virginia leads, 16-12 Last Game: March 6, 2005; Florida State 68, Virginia 63 Last Florida State Win: March 6, 2005; Florida State 68, Virginia 63 Last Virginia Win: Feb. 9, 2005; Virginia 56, Florida State 55 Last Florida State Win In Charlottesville: Dec. 1, 1998; Florida State 72, Virginia 69 Last Virginia Win In Charlottesville: Feb. 9, 2005; Virginia 56, Florida State 55 Florida State vs. Virginia, Current Streak: Florida State has won 1 Leonard Hamilton vs. Virginia: 3-3 (all at Florida State)
FLORIDA STATE VS. VIRGINIA – THE LAST GAME
Adam Waleskowski’s 12 points led four players in double figures as Florida State defeated Virginia 68-63 March 6, 2005 in Tallahassee. Florida State led 32-21 at halftime and built a 20-point lead early in the second half at 47-27, but nearly frittered it away, making just two field goals in the last 12:12. Virginia pulled to within 57-54 on Gary Forbes’ fourth 3-pointer of the second half with 2:51 left, but Florida State’s Al Thornton answered with a running jumper underneath the basket with 2:27 left. Two free throws by Devin Smith with 1:26 left pulled Virginia to within 61-58, but Florida State hit seven free throws in the final minute to hang on. Smith led all scorers with 22 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds while Forbes added 17, all in the second half. Anthony Richardson added 11 points while Jason Rich and Al Thornton finished with 10 each.
SEMINOLES LOOKING TO REVERSE A TREND
Florida State enters Wednesday night’s game trying to reverse a four-year trend in its series against Virginia with the home team winning each game. The last time one of these teams won on the road was Virginia in Tallahassee on Feb. 17, 2001.