March 10, 2004 - by
Florida State Plays NC State In First Round Of ACC Tournament

March 10, 2004

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Florida State, which has defeated four nationally ranked teams and was ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll earlier this season, plays No. 17/20 NC State in the first round of the 51st annual ACC Tournament Friday at 7 p.m. in the Greensboro Coliseum. Florida State, the seventh seeded team in the tournament, and NC State, the second seeded team in the tournament, met twice during the regular season with the Wolfpack winning both games. Friday’s meeting between the two teams in the ACC Tournament is the fourth time these teams have met in the ACC Tournament. The Seminoles defeated the Wolfpack, 93-80, at the Charlotte Coliseum on March 13, 1992 – in the first ever ACC Tournament game for the Seminoles. The victory over the Wolfpack gave the Seminoles wins in their first ever ACC game (Dec. 15, 1991; 86-74 at North Carolina) and their first ever ACC Tournament game. Florida State enters the 2004 ACC Tournament having won its first round tournament game in two consecutive and three of the last four years. The Seminoles are 1-0 this season when playing on a neutral court (Dec. 20, 47-42 against Chicago State in the Pittsburgh Holiday Hoops Classic at the University of Pittsburgh) and have won three of their last four games played on a neutral court. A victory over NC State would vault the Seminoles into the semifinals of the tournament against the winner of Friday’s Maryland/Wake Forest game.

Florida State University senior Tim Pickett, who ranks first in the conference in 3-point field goals made (98), second in steals (75) and fifth in scoring (16.3), was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference First-Team as voted on by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Pickett finished third in the voting and is the second player in Seminole men’s basketball history to earn All-ACC First-Team honors. Bob Sura, currently a nine-year pro playing with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, was the first Florida State player to earn the honor in 1994. Pickett is joined on the All-ACC First-Team by Rashad McCants of North Carolina, Julius Hodge of NC State, Chris Duhon of Duke and Justin Gray of Wake Forest. It marks the second consecutive season Pickett has earned All-ACC honors; he was an All-ACC Second-Team selection as a junior last season. Pickett is looking to become only the ninth player in school history to score 1,000 or more career points during the first two years of his Seminole career and enters the ACC Tournament with a 2.66 steals per game average for his 59-game Seminole career. His steals per game average is the all-time Seminole record and ranks second in ACC history.

Freshman forward Alexander Johnson, who ranks third among all ACC freshman in scoring (9.5 ppg) and rebounds (4.0 rpg), was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team. Johnson joins former Seminole Corey Louis (1995) and current Seminole teammate Michael Joiner (2001) as the only three Florida State players who have been named to the All-ACC Freshman Team.

…Win its 19th game of the season to mark the most wins in a single season since the Seminoles of 1996-97 won 20 and finished the season with a 20-12 record;
…Win a quarterfinal game in the ACC Tournament for the first time since 1992 – the Seminoles first time playing in the event. The Seminoles defeated NC State, 93-80, to advance to the semifinals for the first time in school history where they fell to North Carolina, 80-76;
…Win at least one game in the ACC Tournament for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in the last five years. The Seminoles won their first round games with victories over Clemson in 1999, 2002 and 2003 and a victory over Georgia Tech in 2000;
…Defeat NC State and break an 11-game losing streak against the Wolfpack. The Seminoles are looking for their first win in the series since Jan. 23, 1999 when Florida State defeated NC State, 71-59, in Tallahassee;
…Defeat NC State and give second-year head Coach Leonard Hamilton his first victory over the Wolfpack. Hamilton has guided Florida State to victories over both North Carolina and Wake Forest this season for the first time in his career and has defeated each team in the ACC at least once while at Florida State except NC State.

All-ACC First-Team selection Tim Pickett, who ranks second in the ACC in steals with 75, was named to the ACC All-Defensive team for the second consecutive season. He is the only repeat honoree from last year’s team. Pickett has 157 steals in the last two seasons to mark the most by any conference player in the last two seasons.

Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton, who graduated 28 of his 31 seniors players during his ten-year career at the University of Miami, has continued that tradition during his tenure at Florida State. Included in a group of 57 Seminole student athletes who are scheduled to graduate this spring are six seniors on Hamilton’s men’s basketball team this season. Seniors Nate Johnson, Michael Joiner, Mike Mathews and Tim Pickett along with walk-on Orenn Fells will all graduate this spring. Mathews previously earned his degree (August of 2003) and has been taking post-graduate classes while playing for the Seminoles this season. Joiner was on track to graduate last fall but saved his one final required class – Politics in Europe – for this semester and will walk with his class during graduation ceremonies here in the Civic Center in late April. Guard Andrew Wilson, who has been in school for four years, and endured two medical redshirt years, will earn his undergraduate degree in sport management and begin taking post graduate classes this summer. Former point guard Ryan Lowery will also earn his undergraduate degree this spring. The men’s basketball team will be a perfect four-of-four in scholarship seniors earning their degrees under Hamilton.

Florida State enters Friday’s game against NC State in the ACC Tournament with an 18-12 record – it has four more wins and five fewer losses this season than it did in 29 games last season. It marks the second consecutive season Leonard Hamilton has improved the Seminoles’ win total in his first two seasons as head coach. The Seminoles won 14 games in Hamilton’s first season after winning 12 the year before his arrival (+two wins) and have 18 wins this season (+four wins) marking an overall improvement of six wins since his arrival prior to the beginning of the 2002-03 season.

Florida State has won 897 games during the 57-year history of the program and needs only three victories to reach the 900 plateau. The Seminoles average 15.7 wins each season and won a program record 27 games during the 1972-73 season when they played UCLA in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Florida State is one of five current ACC teams which has played in a national championship game during the illustrious history of the program.

Florida State, which outscored 10 of its 16 ACC opponents in the second half of its conference games this season, leads the ACC in fewest points allowed in the second half of games this season. The Seminoles allow an average of 32.1 points per game after the intermission.

F #1 Michael Joiner (6.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg; 7 pts and 2 rebs against NC State, 2/18/03)
F #20 Andrew Wilson (3.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg; 5 pts and 4 rebs against NC State, 2/10/04)
C #32 Alexander Johnson (9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg; 9 pts and 4 rebs against NC State, 2/10/04)
G #10 Nate Johnson (5.5 ppg, 3.8 apg; 5 turnovers in 108 career minutes against NC State)
G #22 Tim Pickett (16.3 ppg, 2.5 spg; 20 pts and 2 rebs against NC State, 2/18/03)
G #4 Todd Galloway (3.5 ppg, 2.3 apg; 4 pts and 3 asts against NC State, 2/10/04)
F #12 Al Thornton (2.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg; 7 pts and 4 rebs against NC State, 1/11/04)
G #23 Von Wafer (7.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg; 12 pts and 2 rebs against NC State, 2/10/04)
C #33 Mike Mathews (2.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg; 11 pts and 7 rebs against NC State, 1/25/02)
F #51 Adam Waleskowski (6.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg; 7 pts and 3 rebs against NC State, 1/11/04)
F #54 Anthony Richardson (7.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg; 11 pts and 2 rebs against NC State, 2/10/04)

F #24 Julius Hodge (18.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg; 15 pts and 9 rebs against Florida State, 1/11/04)
F #54 Marcus Melvin (14.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg; 11 pts and 11 rebs against Florida State, 2/10/04)
C #32 Levi Watkins (6.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg; 13 pts and 2 rebs against Florida State, 1/11/04)
G #14 Engin Astur (8.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg; 20 pts and 4 rebs against Florida State, 2/10/04)
G #23 Scooter Sherrill (10.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg; 10 pts and 4 rebs against Florida State, 2/10/04)

The Series: NC State leads, 21-14
The Series In ACC Tournament: NC State leads, 2-1
Last Game: Feb. 10, 2004; NC State 75, Florida State 59
Last Florida State Win: Jan. 23, 1999; Florida State 71, NC State 59
Last NC State Win: Feb. 10, 2004; NC State 75, Florida State 59
Last Florida State Win In ACC Tourn: March 13, 1992; Florida State 93, NC State 80
Last NC State Win In ACC Tourn: March 5, 1998; NC State 65, Florida State 63
Florida State vs. NC State, Current Streak: NC State has won 11
Leonard Hamilton vs. NC State: 0-4 (all at Florida State)

Engin Atsur scored a season-high 20 points to lead No. 21 N.C. State to a 75-59 victory over Florida State Feb. 10 in Raleigh. Atsur had four 3-pointers as the Wolfpack finished 14-for-30 beyond the arc. Julius Hodge added 16 points, while Marcus Melvin had 11 and Scooter Sherrill 10 as N.C. State won its fourth straight. N.C. State, the nation’s top free throw shooting team, also was 21-for-26 from the line – including making 17 in a row at one point. Florida State cut a large first-half deficit to 13 points at halftime. But N.C. State got a shot in the lane and 3-pointer from Melvin, and a layup by Sherrill to go up by 20 two minutes into the second half. Florida State got down 23 before trimming the deficit to 11 with 5:31 left. N.C. State’s first nine baskets were all 3-pointers, including three in the opening 6? minutes from Atsur. The Wolfpack finished the half 10-for-19 from beyond the arc, getting long-range shots from seven players.

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