November 22, 2006 - by
Seminoles Travel To Play At No. 3 Pittsburgh Friday At 7:30 P.M.

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Nov. 22, 2006

Florida State travels to play at No. 3/4 Pittsburgh in the championship game of the Colonial Classic Friday Nov. 24 at 7:30 p.m. The Seminoles finished 3-0 with victories over McNeese State (Nov. 12, 85-65), Illinois State (Nov. 13, 73-59) and SMU (59-52, Nov. 14) in their half of the Colonial Classic in Tallahassee. The Panthers also finished 3-0 in their half of the Colonial Classic with wins over Northeastern (Nov. 17, 78-52), Massachusetts (Nov. 18, 85-68) and Oakland (Nov. 19, 66-55). The championship game of the Colonial Classic marks the second time in the last three years that the Seminoles and Panthers will meet in the championship game of an in-season tournament. The Panthers defeated the Seminoles, 63-56, on Dec. 22, 2003 in the championship game of the University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic. Following Friday night’s game against No. 3/4 Pittsburgh, the Seminoles travel to play at No. 7/7 Wisconsin Tuesday Nov. 28 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge before returning home and playing host to No. 1/1 Florida Sunday Dec. 3.

All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton, who earned MVP honors in the Tallahassee bracket of the Colonial Classic, leads the Seminoles in scoring (16.0 ppg), rebounding (5.8 rpg), free throw shooting (.848) and steals (2.0 spg). He leads Florida State into the championship game of the Colonial Classic against Pittsburgh Friday night. He has led the Seminoles in scoring in each of the teams’ first four games, has made nearly 58 percent of his field goal attempts (.575) and enters the game against Panthers having made 14 consecutive free throws. Thornton also leads the Seminoles in blocked shots (1.0 bpg) and has blocked at least one shot in three of the Seminoles’ first four games of the season. He was a pres-season All-ACC First-Team selection and the runner-up selection as the pre-season ACC Player of the Year in a vote by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.

…Defeat Pittsburgh and improve its record to 5-0. The last time the Seminoles won at least their first five games of a season was to begin the 2003-04 season when they won their first 10 games of the season;
…Defeat Pittsburgh and win its first road game of the season. The Seminoles played their first four games of the 2006-07 season at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center;
…Defeat Pittsburgh and gain a victory over a ranked team on the road for the first time since Feb. 14, 2001 when the Seminoles defeated No. 17 Maryland, 74-71, in Cole Field House in College Park, Md.;
…Defeat Pittsburgh and gain a win over a top-five ranked team on the road for the first time since Dec. 15, 1991 when the Seminole defeated No. 5 North Carolina in Chapel Hill in the first ACC game in school history;
…Defeat Pittsburgh and win the championship of an in-season tournament for the first time since winning the championship of the 1986 Red Lobster Classic on Orlando;
…Defeat Pittsburgh and gain a victory over a ranked team for the 17th consecutive season. The Seminoles defeated No. 1 ranked Duke, 79-74, on March 1, 2006 to keep their nearly 20-year streak alive.

Florida State is 4-0 under Head Coach Leonard Hamilton for the second time in his five-year tenure in Tallahassee…The Seminoles began the 2003-04 season with a school-record 10 consecutive wins to open the season…The longest winning streak in school history is 11 as Florida State won 11 games from Jan. 5 through Feb. 14, 1970…Florida State has defeated four teams from four different conferences to open the 2006-07 season – The Southland (McNeese State), Missouri Valley (Illinois State), Conference USA (SMU) and Sun Belt Conferences (New Orleans)…Hamilton has won each of his five season openers as the Seminoles’ head coach and is only the third coach in school history to win his first five openers…Florida State has won four games by Nov 19 – the earliest in school history it has won four games…The Seminoles didn’t win their fourth game of the 2005-06 season until a 97-57 victory over Purdue on Nov. 29, 2005…Florida State did not win its’ fourth game of Hamilton’s first season as the Seminole head coach until a victory over Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 8…The Seminoles were one of 10 ACC teams to enter action in the week of Nov. 20 without a loss.

Florida State enters Friday night’s game against No. 3/4 Pittsburgh with seven wins over nationally ranked opponents during the first four years of the Leonard Hamilton era in Tallahassee. Included in those seven 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) and a victory over the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils during the 2002-03 season (75-70, Feb. 2, 2003).

Seminoles' Victories Over Nationally Ranked Teams Under Leonard Hamilton
Date            Opponent          Ranking    Final Score
Feb. 2, 2003    Duke              No. 5      Florida State 75, Duke 70
Dec. 28, 2003   Maryland          No. 24     Florida State 79, Maryland 75
Jan. 22, 2004   North Carolina    No. 7      Florida State 90, North Carolina 81 (OT)
Jan. 25, 2004   Wake Forest       No. 7      Florida State 75, Wake Forest 70
Feb. 3, 2004    Georgia Tech      No. 15     Florida State 81, Georgia Tech 65
Jan. 18, 2005   Wake Forest       No. 3      Florida State 91, Wake Forest 83 (OT)
March 1, 2006   Duke              No. 1      Florida State 79, Duke 75

Florida State will play two Big East teams during the 2006-07 regular season as they travel to play at Pittsburgh (Nov. 24) and play Providence in Tampa (Dec. 29). It marks the first time since the 1996-97 season that they Seminoles will play two Big East opponents in the same season. Florida State won at Seton Hall (67-56; Jan. 18, 1997) and defeated Connecticut in the semifinals of the postseason NIT (71-65; March 25, 1987) in Madison Square Garden. The Seminoles finished with a 20-12 record after falling to Michigan in the NIT final two says after defeating Connecticut. Florida State will play on the road against a Big East opponent (at Pittsburgh) for the second time in four seasons. The Seminoles most recently played at Pittsburgh in the championship game of the University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic on Dec. 22, 2003.

Florida State enters Friday’s game against Pittsburgh shooting .714 and leading the ACC in free throw shooting percentage. The Seminoles finished sixth in the ACC last season with a .704 free throw shooting percentage. Florida State has shot 72 percent or better from the line in three of their four games and is averaging better than 11 free throws made per game. The Seminoles starting five (Thornton, Rich, Douglas, Swann, Echefu) is shooting a combined .756 from the free throw line through the first four games of the 2006-07 season.

Florida State made more free throws against both Illinois State and SMU (12-13) than the Redbirds and Mustangs attempted (7-9) in its victories during the Colonial Classic in Tallahassee. During the first four games of the season, the Seminoles have made five more free throws (45-40) and attempted seven more free throws (63-56) than their opponents.

Led by Al Thornton’s four blocked shots in the first four games of the season (1.0 bpg), the Seminoles have blocked 11 shots on their way to their 4-0 record. The Seminoles recorded four blocked shots in their victories over Illinois State and New Orleans. With 11 blocks in their first four games, the Seminoles are ahead of their pace of eight blocks during the first four games of the 20005-06 season.

F	#12	Al Thornton (16.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg; DF scoring and tm leader in scoring in all 4 games in 06-07)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (6.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg; First 4 starts of his career have come to begin 06-07 season)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (7.5 ppg, 1.5 apg; 78 steals in 65 career games for a 1.2 career spg average)
G	#23	Toney Douglas (10.8 ppg, 4.0 apg; Last FSU guard to average over 4.0 apg was in 01-02)
G	#25	Jason Rich (9.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg; .515 from field in 06-07; career FG Pct of .449 entering season)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (6.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg; 87 career FTM and needs only 13 for his career)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (8.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg; Team leader with 6 3FGM, made 17 3FG in 30 games in 05-06)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (2.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg; Shooting .750 from FT line, has made three consec FT)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (4.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg; Career-high nine rebounds in 19 minutes in win over UNO)

F	#14	Levon Kendall (7.0 ppg, 2.4 apg; Tied for team lead in blks, at least one blk in 4 of 5 games)
F	#31	Mike Cook (11.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg; Second leading scorer, DF scoring in 3 of 5 gms in 05-06)
C	#33	Aaron Gray (17.6 ppg, 10.6 rpg; Team leader in scoring in four of five games in 06-07)
G	#2	Levance Fields (5.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg; Team leader in assists in four of five games in 06-07)
G	#22	Antonio Graves (9.8 ppg, 2.8 apg; Team leader in steals with three, had two against Dl. State)

The Series: Pittsburgh leads, 7-1
Last Game: Dec. 22, 2003; Pittsburgh 63, Florida State 56
Last Florida State Win: Dec. 21, 1984, Florida State 83, Pittsburgh 76
Last Pittsburgh Win: Dec. 22, 2003; Pittsburgh 63, Florida State 56
Last Florida State Win In Pittsburgh: None
Last Pittsburgh Win In Pittsburgh: Dec. 22, 2003; Pittsburgh 63, Florida State 56
Current Streak vs. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has won 3

Mark McCarroll scored 13 points in his second consecutive strong game and No. 16 Pittsburgh dealt Florida State its first loss of the 2003-04 season, 63-56 at the Pederson Special Events Center in Pittsburgh. Carl Krauser led Pitt with 17 points and McCarroll had six points during a pivotal 10-2 run that started the second half and gave the Panthers a 38-30 lead. Chevy Troutman shook off a scoreless first half to get nine points down the stretch and help Pitt open leads of as many as 10 points. Florida State fell despite Tim Pickett’s 14 points and freshman Von Wafer’s 13. Nate Johnson added 12 points, but only one of Florida State’s three starting inside players, Mike Matthews (two points) scored. Wafer got the Seminoles within 56-50 with a jumper from the wing with just over a minute left but, after a Pitt turnover, he missed a jumper that would have cut it to four. Pitt’s Jaron Brown then grabbed a loose ball and scored off a driving layup to get the lead back to eight. Jaron Brown added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Pitt.

During the illustrious history of the Seminole basketball program, the Seminoles have won 15 in-season tournament championships. Most recently, the Seminoles won the Metro Conference tournament championship in 1991 and the championship of the Red Lobster Classic in 1986. The Seminoles played in the Corpus Christi Caller Times Challenge in 2004 and in the 2003 University of Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic. Florida State was 3-1 in the Pittsburgh Tournament with victories over Georgetown College (81-67), Wagner (83-62) and Chicago State (47-42).

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