March 15, 2007 - by
First Half Run Keys Seminoles’ Win Over Wolverines In Second Round Of NIT, 87-66

March 15, 2007

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Florida State made a believer out of Michigan coach Tommy Amaker on Thursday night.

The Seminoles took advantage of 15 steals and some torrid shooting to advance to the quarterfinal round of the National Invitation Tournament with a surprisingly easy 87-66 victory over Amaker’s Wolverines.

“They’re going to be a tough out in this tournament,” Amaker said after the loss.

Florida State (22-12) scored 34 points off some of Michigan’s turnovers – the difference in the game.

“It’s a formula for disaster, especially on the road,” Amaker said. “Their quickness, their speed gave us a lot of problems.”

Toney Douglas and Isaiah Swann scored 15 points apiece to lead the Seminoles, who meet the winner of Saturday’s Mississippi State-Bradley game in an NIT quarterfinal Tuesday.

Florida State hit 11 of its last 14 shots in the first half, closing with a 33-14 spurt for a 41-30 lead at the break. The Seminoles maintained their double-digit advantage throughout the second half, leading by as many as 22 points on four occasions.

“That shows you what we’re capable of,” Swann said. “We’ve just got to keep it up.”

Michigan took a 16-8 lead, but Douglas and Swann each scored six points that sparked a 20-7 run to put Florida State ahead 28-23.

“That was really a big turning point,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “That little period there was what made the difference.”

Dion Harris scored 15 points, Lester Abram 14 and Courtney Sims 11 for the Wolverines (22-13).

“It’s a tough way to end the year,” Amaker said. “We were pretty darn good at home, but struggled (3-9) on the road.”

Six players finished in double figures for Florida State. Jason Rich, Uche Echefu and Al Thornton, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer during the season, scored 11 points each and Casaan Breeden added 10.

The Seminoles have shot well in both of its NIT games this week, hitting 62.3 percent in Tuesday’s 77-61 victory over Toledo.

Thornton now has 674 points for the season, 68 shy of Jim Oler’s school record set in the 1955-56 season.

Swann shot 6-for-9, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers, and had a game-high six assists.

“We were moving the ball … getting great shots,” Swann said. When we do that we make a high percentage.”

After scoring just eight points on 3-for-12 shooting in the first 9 minutes, Florida State finished at 59.3 percent for the game while Michigan shot 41.7 percent and committed 21 turnovers.

The two schools met only time previously, in the NIT title game 10 years ago when Robert Traylor’s 26 points and 13 rebounds sparked the Wolverines to an 82-73 victory.

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