March 17, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Alexander Johnson’s two baskets in the final minute lifted Florida State to a 67-63 win over cold-shooting Butler in a first round National Invitational Tournament game Friday.
Johnson’s jump-hook put the Seminoles ahead 64-63 with 51 seconds left and his putback on a missed free throw by Ralph Mims with 19.4 seconds sealed the victory for a team intent on proving that it was slighted when it was left out of the NCAA tournament field.
Avery Sheets’ 3-point basket with 2:22 left to give Butler a 63-61 lead.
The 6-10 Johnson finished with 20 points and nine rebounds while teammate Jason Rich, who sparked an early second-half run, led all scorers with a career best 22, including 13 in the second half.
Brandon Polk led Butler (20-13) with 21 points, but was limited to just five in the second half. The Bulldogs shot an icy 33.8 percent in the game and were just 8 of 37 from 3-point distance.
Four quick Rich baskets helped Florida State gain a 47-36 lead, but Butler hit four quick baskets early in the second half.
Florida State (20-9) started with an 11-2 lead as Butler hit just one of its first 10 shots and just 3 of their first 21 and still were within three, 33-30, at halftime.
But Polk scored 16 in the half to keep his team in the game.
Florida State will host South Carolina on Tuesday in a second-round game.