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Nov. 28, 1997

Florida State Falls to Kansas in NIT Finals


Terrell Baker scored 12 points for the Seminoles. (File photo)


NEW YORK, N.Y. – Paul Pierce scored 23 points and blunted every fourth-quarter
rally with a key basket as second-ranked Kansas turned back
number 25 Florida State, 73-58, in the championship of the
Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York.


Raef LaFrentz added 15 of his 17 points in the second half for
Kansas (6-0), which won this event for the third time in as many
tries under coach Roy Williams. Williams is 12-0 in the
Preseason NIT, also winning in 1989 and 1993.


Randell Jackson scored 15 points and Terrell Baker 12 for the
Seminoles (4-1), who surprised number 11 Connecticut in the
semifinals Wednesday to reach the championship game. Florida
State fought Kansas on even terms for almost 33 minutes before
Pierce took over.


Seminoles coach Steve Robinson, a former assistant under
Williams at Kansas and in his first year at Florida State, lost
for the first time.


Pierce gave the Jayhawks the lead for good at 52-49 when he made
a three-pointer from the left wing with 7:04 to play. After a
basket by Jackson cut the gap to one, Pierce tipped in a miss by
LaFrentz to restore the three-point lead.


LaFrentz scored, but Baker knocked down a three-pointer to pull
Floirda State within 56-54 at the 4:25 mark. However, Pierce
again answered the challenge, this time hitting a three-pointer

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