INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (seminoles.com) — Redshirt junior Anthony Polite scored a career-high 22 points in leading Florida State, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, to a 71-53 win over No. 5 seed Colorado in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The victory sends the Seminoles to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and for the seventh time in school history.
Florida State will face Michigan, the No. 1 seed Easy Region, in the Sweet 16 round of the tournament at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Polite pulled down five rebounds, totaled a game-high four assists, and contributed a game-high four steals. Polite tied his career-high four 3-point field goals including two in the first four minutes of the game to send the Seminoles to an early lead.
The Seminoles’ defense told much of the story of this game as they held Colorado to .357 percent shooting from the field, .240 percent shooting from the 3-point line and to a 53 points – the fewest points scored by the Buffaloes since February 20, 2016. The 53 points allowed by the Seminoles ranks as the fewest points allowed by Florida State in an NCAA Tournament games. The Seminoles also had double the amount of steals as Colorado (10-5) and totaled 20 fast break points as compared to only two for Colorado.
The Seminoles have allowed only 107 points in the first two games of the NCAA Tournament – 53 by Colorado and 54 by UNC Greensboro in the first round.
The game was a tale of two halves for the Seminoles who led 24-20 after the first 20 minutes. The Seminoles exploded with 47 second half points as they shot .625 percent from the field (15 of 24) and made 15 of 18 free throws.
Florida State scored the first four points of the second half to open up a 28-20 lead before the Buffaloes cut the deficit to one point at the 11:51 mark. Florida State responded with a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 42-35 with 9:29 left. After another triple by Polite and a free throw by senior M.J. Walker, the Seminoles were up 51-41, grabbing the first double digit lead of the game with 6:19 left to play.
The Seminoles pushed their lead to 19 points at 69-50 with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
Osborne joined Polite as the Seminoles’ only two double figure scorers with 11 points on four of eight shooting from the field. He was also two of three from the line to maintain his career-high .838 mark from the free throw line this season.
RaiQuan Gray, a redshirt junior, was one point away from double figure scoring with nine points. Gray led the team in rebounds with six and contributed one block for the Seminoles. He has blocked 19 shots in 24 games this season.
Freshman Scottie Barnes led the Seminoles with five assists and three steals. He totaled six points and was a perfect two of two from the line.
After not making a single three-point shot against UNCG, the Seminoles shot .353 from beyond the arc against Colorado (six of 17). Florida State was 17 of 21 from the line (.810) and Colorado, the best free throw shooting team in the nation, was seven of 11 (.636).
Colorado had three players score in double figures, led by D’Shawn Schwartz with 13 points and followed by Evan Battey with 11 points. In his last game as a Buffalo, senior Mckinley Wright IV scored 10 points, pulled down four rebounds, and contributed two steals.