TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) — Florida State, which has won three consecutive and 10 of its last 11 games, closes out its regular season non-conference schedule as it plays host to North Alabama on Saturday, December 28, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at the Donald L. Tucker Center. The Seminoles’ game against the Lions marks the first time the two teams will meet in the sport of basketball. The game is also the Seminoles’ final contest of their 11 non-ACC game regular season schedule as they look to improve to 10-1 before finishing their schedule with 18 consecutive ACC games leading up to the 2020 ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum (March 10-14, 2020). Florida State enters its game against North Alabama with three straight wins over Clemson (72-53, December 8), North Florida (98-81, December 17) and USF (66-60, December 21) and only one loss since defeating No. 6 Florida (63-51, November 10) in the second game of the season. Following Saturday’s game against North Alabama, the Seminoles continue their 20-game ACC schedule as they play host to Georgia Tech on December 31, 2019 in a conference game that begins at 12 Noon.
FLORIDA STATE VS. NORTH ALABAMA – CONNECTIONS
Florida State closes out its’ non-conference schedule as it plays host to North Alabama in the first event meeting between the two teams. Tony Pujol is in his second season at North Alabama after leading the Lions through the beginning of its transition to NCAA Division I basketball in the 2018-19 season as a member of the ASUN Conference. Ahmad Smith, an assistant coach at North Alabama, was an assistant coach at Charleston Southern when the Seminoles defeated the Buccaneers in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 – with all five games coming in Tallahassee.
FLORIDA STATE HAS MADE THE TUCKER CENTER A TOUGH PLACE FOR OPPONENTS TO PLAY
Florida State is 55-3 (.948 winning percentage in its last 58 home games) since the tail end of the 2015-16 season. The Seminoles earned a 15-1 record home record at home during the 2018-19 season. The Seminoles enter Saturday’s game against the Lions having won .948 percent of their games (55-3) and .900 percent of their ACC games (27-3) at home since the tail end of the 2015-16 season. Florida State’s streak began with a 77-56 win over No. 23 Notre Dame on February 27, 2015. The Seminoles were 18-0 at home (including 9-0 in the ACC) during the 2016-17, 15-1 at home during the 2018-10 season and are 6 -0 at home this season (2019-20).
SEMINOLES NON-CONFERNCE HOME WINNING STREAK IS NATION’S THIRD LONGEST
Florida State enters Saturday’s game against North Alabama having won 37 consecutive non-conference home games – the third longest active streak in the nation. Butler, which has won 57 straight non-conference home games, has the longest streak in the nation. The Bulldogs are followed by Texas Tech which has won 53 consecutive non-Big 12 games at home.
FLORIDA STATE IN THE LAST TWO SEASONS
Florida State enters Saturday’s game with a 39-10 record (.796 winning percentage) in the last two seasons. The Seminoles are 10-2 this season (.833 winning percentage) and were 29-8 in advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2019 NCAA Tournament (.784 winning percentage).
LOOK FOR FLORIDA STATE TO…
…Defeat North Alabama and win its 38th consecutive non-conference home game. The Seminoles’ current streak against non-conference opponents began December 6, 2014 with a 96-73 victory over UCF;
…Defeat North Alabama and raise its record to 56-3 at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center since the end of the 2015-16 season (a perfect 18-0 record in 16-17; 13-2 in 2017-18, 15-1 in 2018-19 and 6-0 in 2019-20).
…Defeat North Alabama and win its 13th consecutive home game. The Seminoles won their final six home games of the 2018-19 season and have won their first six of the 2019-20 season.
ANATOMY OF FLORIDA STATE’S COME FROM BEHIND VICTORY OVER USF
Florida State outscored USF, 19-3, in the final 6:13 of its game on Saturday to take a come from behind 66-60 victory over the Bulls at the Orange Bowl Classic in Sunrise, Fla. In snatching their third consecutive victory, the Seminoles blocked four shots, earned four steals, had five different players score points (M.J. Walker, 6; Devin Vassell, 5; Patrick Williams, 4; RaiQuan Gray, 2; Trent Forrest, 2), outrebounded the Bulls by a 7-4 margin and limited USF to one field goal made and one free throw made. The Seminoles earned a 9-0 scoring run (between the 6:13 and the 3:05 marks) and an 8-0 scoring run (between the 2:19 mark and the 0:03 mark) and closed the game on a 9-2 run in the final 2:19 of the game. After taking a 10-ponit lead at the 6:32 mark on a dunk by Michael Durr, USF scored only one field goal and only one free throw for the remainder of the game.
QUOTING ORANGE BOWL MVP ANTHONY POLITE ON THE SEMINOLES’ LATE RALLY TO DEEFEAT USF
“We had a plan to trap the ball screens. That led to a few steals that gave us energy, and we were able to get some easy baskets in transition. That gave us momentum.”
ANOTHER NOTE ON THE SEMINOLES’ RALLY FOR VICTORY OVER USF IN THE ORANGE BOWL CLASSIC
Florida State outscored USF by a 62-43 margin in the final 32:06 of its win over the Bulls in the Orange Bowl Classic on December 21. The Seminoles made 21 of their final 44 field goal attempts (.477 percent). Comparatively, the Bulls made only 17 of the final 45 field goal attempts (17 of 45), and after leading by 13 (17-4, 13:11 left in the first half) fell behind by six (64-58, 0:15 left in the game) – a swing of 19 points in the Seminoles’ favor.
FLORIDA STATE MOVES INTO ACC STEALS LEAD
With 13 steals in its 66-60 victory over USF on December 21 in the Orange Bowl Classic, the Seminoles moved into the ACC team lead with a 9.7 steals per game average. Florida State’s 13 steals in its win over the Bulls marked the seventh time this season it has earned 10 or more steals in a game with its season-high of 16 coming against Purdue in the championship game of the Emerald Coast Classic on November 30, 2019.