February 2, 2007 - by
Florida State Travels To Play At No. 8/10 Duke Sunday At 2 P.M.

Feb. 2, 2007

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Florida State, which has won four of its last five games, travels to play at No. 8/10 Duke on Sunday in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Seminoles enter their game against the Blue Devils with a 16-6 overall record and a 4-4 record in ACC play. Florida State’s 16 wins entering the month of February marks the first time since the 1988-89 season the Seminoles had that many wins by the end of the month of January. The Seminoles were 16-1 entering the month of February on their way to a 22-8 overall record, a 9-3 record and a first place finish in the Metro Conference, a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament and a final national ranking of No. 16 in the Associated Press poll. Florida State’s 4-4 record in ACC play marks the second consecutive season it has had a .500 mark in conference play. The Seminoles finished with a 9-7 record and a fifth place ranking in the ACC standings during the 2005-06 season. Florida State is 13-1 at home, 2-5 on the road and 1-0 in neutral site games this season. The Seminoles’ game on the road against the Blue Devils is their fourth ACC road game of the 2006-07 season after winning at Virginia (Jan. 11, 2006; 87-82 OT), at Wake Forest (Jan. 24; 75-68) and at Miami (March 5, 67-64) last season. Following Sunday’s game against Duke, the Seminoles play the second of two consecutive conference road games as they travel to Clemson (Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m.) before returning home and playing host to Boston College (Feb. 11, 3:00 p.m.) and Georgia Tech (Feb. 13, 8:00 p.m.).

All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton has elevated himself into top consideration for ACC Player of the Year honors with his play throughout the season and especially during play against conference opponents. He enters Sunday’s game against Duke with five 20+ point scoring efforts and a 23.0 points per game scoring average in eight ACC games. He has three 20-10 double-doubles (the most by any ACC player in ACC play this season) and averages a near double-double of 23.0 points and 8.5 rebounds in conference play. He is ranked first in the league in scoring in ACC games (23.0 ppg), second in field goal percentage in ACC games (.566), third in overall scoring (18.6 ppg), third in ACC games only free throw shooting percentage (.880), fourth in conference games only rebounding (8.5 rpg), fourth in overall field goal percentage (.556) and fourth in overall free throw shooting percentage (.850).

Florida State, which defeated the nation’s No. 1 ranked team – Florida – on Dec. 3, is one of only two teams in the nation that has played the nation’s top three ranked teams in this week’s Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Polls. The Seminoles defeated the Gators, 70-66, at the Donald L. Tucker Center and have a 1-2 record against No. 1 Florida (Dec. 3, 70-66), No. 2 Wisconsin (Nov. 28) and No. 3 North Carolina (Jan. 7). The Seminoles also have victories over No. 23 Virginia Tech (Jan. 17, 82-73), which has defeated both No. 3 North Carolina and No. 10 Duke, and Providence of the Big East (Dec. 29, 92-62) which has earned victories over then No. 23 ranked Boston College and then No. 15 ranked Marquette.

…Defeat Duke and gain its first victory in school history in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Seminoles have won in every venue in the ACC except for Cameron;
…Defeat Duke and earn a victory over a ranked team on the road for the first time since Feb. 14, 2001 when it defeated then No. 17 Maryland, 74-71, in Cole Field House. It was the last victory by an opposing team before they closed one of the greatest gyms in college basketball history;
…Defeat Duke and gain a third win over a ranked team this season. The Seminoles defeated then No. 4/4 Florida (Dec. 3) in Tallahassee and then No. 23 Virginia Tech (Jan. 17) also in Tallahassee;
…Defeat Duke and earn a win over a ranked team for the 10th time during the five-year tenure of Head Coach Leonard Hamilton;
…Defeat Duke and earn a win over a ranked Duke team for the fourth time in the last six seasons. The Seminoles defeated No. 1 Duke (Jan. 6, 2002; 77-76) during the 2001-02 season, No. 5 Duke (Feb. 2, 2003; 75-70) during the 2002-03 season and No. 1 Duke (March 1, 2006; 79-74) during the 2005-06 season;
…Defeat Duke and earn their third consecutive ACC victory. It would mark the first time since the 1994-95 season that the Seminoles would win three consecutive conference games.

Florida State enters Sunday’s game against Duke with nine wins over nationally ranked opponents during the first five years of the Leonard Hamilton era in Tallahassee. Included in those nine wins by Hamilton-coached teams are victories over No. 1 ranked Duke (79-74, March 1, 2006), No. 3 ranked Wake Forest (91-83 in overtime, Jan. 18, 2005), No. 4 ranked Florida (70-66, Dec. 3, 2006) and a victory over the No. 5 ranked Blue Devils during the 2002-03 season (75-70, Feb. 2, 2003).

Seminoles' Victories Over Nationally Ranked Teams Under Leonard Hamilton
Date              Opponent           Ranking     Final Score
Feb. 2, 2003      Duke               No. 5       Florida State 75, Duke 70
Dec. 28, 2003     Maryland           No. 24      Florida State 79, Maryland 75
Jan. 22, 2004     North Carolina     No. 7       Florida State 90, North Carolina 81 (OT)
Jan. 25, 2004     Wake Forest        No. 7       Florida State 75, Wake Forest 70
Feb. 3, 2004      Georgia Tech       No. 15      Florida State 81, Georgia Tech 65
Jan. 18, 2005     Wake Forest        No. 3       Florida State 91, Wake Forest 83 (OT)
March 1, 2006     Duke               No. 1       Florida State 79, Duke 74
Dec. 3, 2006      Florida            No. 4       Florida State 70, Florida 66
Jan. 17, 2006     Virginia Tech      No. 23      Florida State 82, Virginia Tech 73

Florida State, which has shot better than 70 percent from the line in 19 of its 22 games this season, enters Sunday’s game against Duke ranked third in the nation and first in the ACC in free throw shooting percentage with a .784 mark. The mark, should it get better or stay the same during the reminder of the season, would rank as a school record and the fifth best team free throw percentage in ACC history. The Seminoles are shooting better than 80 percent (.821, 142-of-173) in their first eight ACC games of the season.

…Florida State is shooting .821 from the line in ACC play. As a team, they missed three free throws in their victory over Virginia Tech (31-of-34, .912), one on the road at Boston College (16-of-17, .941) and two in their victory over Maryland (14-of-16, .875);
…Florida State is shooting .856 from the free throw line in its last five games (101-of-118) and shot better than 90 percent in its victory over Virginia Tech and on the road against Boston College;
…Florida State’s starting five (Thornton, Rich, Douglas, Swann, Echefu) is shooting a combined .864 (121-of-140) in ACC play and a combined .816 (257-of-315) in the Seminoles’ 22 games this season;
…Florida State’s .875 free throw percentage against Maryland (14-of-16) is tied for the ninth highest free throw percentage in the Seminoles’ ACC history. It is their third highest percentage in an ACC game THIS SEASON with a .912 performance from the line against Virginia Tech and a .941 performance against Boston College.

Florida State shot .617 (37-of-60) from the field in its victory over Maryland Tuesday. It marked the second highest single-game field goal percentage in Florida State’s ACC history (the Seminoles shot .629 in a victory over NC State on March 13, 1992 in the ACC Tournament) and its highest in ACC play since shooting .600 in a victory over Virginia on Jan. 11, 2006.

F	#12	Al Thornton (18.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg; 37 pts and 15 rebs vs. Duke, Feb. 4, 2006)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (7.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg; 0 pts and 1 stl vs. Duke, March 1, 2006)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (8.7 ppg, 3.3 apg; 13 pts and 3 rebs vs. Duke, Jan. 22, 2005)
G	#23	Toney Douglas (13.4 ppg, 2.7 apg; First career game vs. Duke)
G	#25	Jason Rich (10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg; 20 pts and 3 rebs vs. Duke, Feb. 4, 2006)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (5.2 ppg, 2.3 apg; 9 pts and 4 asts vs. Duke, Feb. 4, 2006)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg; 2 pts and 2 stls vs. Duke, Feb. 4, 2006)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (3.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg; 0 pts and 0 rebs vs. Duke, Feb. 4, 2006)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (2.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg; First career game vs. Duke)

F	#2	Josh McRoberts (13.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg; 7 pts and 2 blks vs. Florida State, Feb. 4, 2006)
F	#42	Lance Thomas (4.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State)
G	#3	Greg Paulus (8.7 ppg, 3.7 apg; 3 pts and 3 asts vs. Florida State, Feb. 4, 2006)
G	#21	DeMarcus Nelson (14.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg; 10 pts and 4 rebs vs. Florida State, March 1, 2006)
G	#30	Jon Scheyer (12.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg; First career game vs. Florida State)

The Series: Duke leads, 25-5
Last Game: March 1, 2006; at Florida State 79, Duke 74
Last Florida State Win: March 1, 2006; at Florida State 79, Duke 74
Last Duke Win: Feb. 4, 2006; at Duke 97, Florida State 96 (OT)
Last Florida State win in Durham: None
Last Duke win in Durham: Feb. 4, 2006; at Duke 97, Florida State 96 (OT)
Current Streak vs. Duke: Florida State has won 1
Leonard Hamilton vs. Duke: 2-4

Al Thornton scored 26 points and pulled down six rebounds as Florida State defeated No. 1 ranked Duke, 79-74, on March 1, 2006 in Tallahassee. Florida State fans prematurely stormed the court with 1.7 seconds left to play, but that only delayed the final buzzer that signaled the Seminoles’ second win over No. 1 Duke in three years. J.J. Redick was 10-for-28 from the field and had 30 points for Duke while Shelden Williams had 20 points. Alexander Johnson’s short jumper with 1:06 left gave the Seminoles a 74-72 lead. Fans came onto the floor with Florida State ahead 77-72. The floor was cleared and Duke was awarded two free throws on a technical foul against Florida State for its players leaving the bench area. Redick made the foul shots to make it a three-point game, but Thornton, who was fouled as the premature celebration began, made two free throws for the final margin. The score was tied five times and there were four lead changes. Duke took its first lead in the second half at 43-42 on a dunk by Williams and built the lead to seven points.

All-America, National and ACC Player of the Year candidate Al Thornton averaged a double-double of 31.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting .468 (22-of-47) from the field and .947 (18-of-19) from the line in two games against Duke during the 2005-06 season. Thornton scored his career-high of 37 points in the Seminoles’ 79-74 victory over No. 1 Duke on March 1, 2006 in Tallahassee.

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