So Kennedy and his staff had to come up with a game plan, in
just one practice, to take on All-America center Alonzo Mourning and the Hoyas
without their own playmaker at point guard.
The solution was brilliant.
Kennedy opened the game against the perennial NCAA
powerhouse Georgetown with young guard Bob Sura covering the towering
Mourning. Kennedy put Sura in
Mourning's face every time he came down the court and used reserve center Andre
Reid's 7-0 frame to double team him when he did get the ball inside. The strategy worked beautifully holding
the star to just one point in the first half and 14 for the game. The Seminoles beat the Hoyas by an
identical 78-68 score and were headed to the Sweet 16.
The NCAA had arranged a chartered flight, which was
exceptionally rare for the Seminoles in those days, for FSU to make the
off-the-beaten-path trip to Boise.
Spring break began for campus after the huge Georgetown win and with a
game at altitude in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Sweet 16 next on the
agenda, the FSU staff elected to redirect the charter straight to the southwest
to prepare for the next game.
The Seminoles would land in a rocking Albuquerque since New
Mexico State had advanced to the same site and tickets were in high
demand. The atmosphere got even
more intense once FSU's opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers - again, landed. Head coach Bobby Knight brought a bull whip
to his team's first practice and a playful exchange with his star player blew
up all over the press and landed the match-up on everyone's front page.
Charlie Ward had been
cleared to play, but had very limited motion in his left shoulder and wore a
strap that limited him even more.
He would not start the game and was not very effective over his 26
minutes of play. Despite this, FSU
and Indiana played a classic first half that ended with the Hoosier's clinging
to a 40-38 lead. IU came on strong
in the second half and ended FSU's second most successful season ever with an