March 5, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State senior Al Thornton, who scored his career-high of 45 points in the Seminoles’ victory over Miami on Saturday, has been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week for the first time this season as announced by the league office Monday. It marks the third time during his career that he has earned the honor.
Thornton put one of the largest exclamation points on one of the top seasons by any player in conference history as he scored his career-high 45 points and pulled down eight rebounds in a career-high 43 minutes as the Seminoles won their final game of the regular season with a 98-90 overtime victory at Miami. Thornton’s 45-point total is the highest by an ACC player this season and the third highest by a Division I player against another Division I team this season.
Thornton came within one point of tying the all-time Florida State record of 46 points in a single game – set by Ron King during the 1971 season. His incredible point total marked only the 23rd time in Atlantic Coast Conference history that a league player scored at least 45 points in a game. Of those 23 times an ACC player has scored at least 45 points in a single game only nine have come against another ACC team – including Thornton’s 45-point outing against the Hurricanes. Thornton’s outing marked the second time since the 1990-91 season and only third time since the 1968-69 season that a conference player had scored at least 45 points against another conference team.
Against Miami, Thornton scored 18 points in the first half, 19 in the second half and eight in the overtime period. In the final seven minutes of playing time (final two of regulation and five in overtime) he scored 15 of the Florida State’s 26 points as the Seminoles’ rallied from a 76-70 deficit with 2:40 left in regulation to win their first overtime game of the season.
Thornton began the Seminoles’ comeback with five consecutive points starting with a jumper to pull Florida State to within 76-72 with 1:32 remaining. After the Hurricanes scored two free throws to go up 78-74 with 1:21 left, Thornton connected on an old fashioned 3-point play to pull the Seminoles within three at 78-75 with 1:10 left in the second half. After the Hurricanes missed two free throws, Thornton made it a one-point game (77-78) with a free-throw jumper.
Thornton was special in the second half as he scored eight of Florida State’s 16 points. He scored the Seminoles’ first two points of the extra session which put Florida State quickly on the track to victory. Thornton was six-of-six from the free throw line in the overtime period to lead the Seminoles to their second ACC road victory over the season. He made six free throws and had a dunk as the Seminoles outscored Miami 16-8 to gain the 98-90 victory and finish the season with seven ACC victories.
Thornton’s 45-point performance marked only the eighth time in school history a player has scored 40 points or more in a game. He became only the fourth player in school history to 37 points or more at least three times in his career as he raised his season-scoring average to an ACC leading and career-high 20.1 points per game. His perfect 11-of-11 performance from the free throw line marked only the eighth time in school history a player was perfect on at least 11 free throws in a single game.