Dec. 26, 2010
HONOLULU, Hi. –
The Florida State Seminoles are heading home with smiles on their faces and a good feeling about their game. No. 15 Baylor is going back to the mainland with two losses.
Bernard James had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles (11-3), who played on Christmas for the first time and recorded their first win over a ranked team this season.
“It’s big for us, especially for our confidence,” James said. “We’ve played two ranked teams already and we didn’t do so well. This game is going to do wonders for us once we get to conference just because now we know that we can play with and beat a team of that caliber.”
It was a disappointing trip for the Bears (8-3), who dropped two straight in Hawaii and three since last Saturday after reaching No. 9, the highest ranking in school history.
“The good thing is it’s been against quality teams and we’ve found some areas that we need to get better,” Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “We’ve found some areas where people have exploited us, and the good thing is now we can return home and practice.”
Florida State’s scrappy defense and strong play in the middle kept Baylor off-balance. The Bears were held to 33 percent shooting as they couldn’t get into their offensive groove. They turned it over late in the game and blew several opportunities.
Drew said playing in a tournament is tough because there is no time to make corrections.
“So we’ll get home, we’ll work on a things, we’ll get better,” he said. “We’re a very young team and we know our basketball is ahead of us rather than behind us.”
LaceDarius Dunn led Baylor with 23 points but missed two key free throws down the stretch. Dunn was coming off a season-high, 29-point performance.
“We knew we weren’t going to hold him scoreless, but we just tried to minimize his points as much as possible to make the rest of the team beat us,” Singleton said.
Singleton scored six straight during an 8-0, second-half run to give Florida State a 45-35 lead. He added a late 3-pointer to help the Seminoles hold off the Bears.
“Our execution was good, so was our focus and everybody who played tonight contributed,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We played with an extreme amount of confidence.”
Trailing 20-11, Florida State stepped up its defense and went on a 26-13 run behind James’ nine points to take a 37-33 halftime lead. Florida State is 9-0 when leading at the break.
Michael Snaer’s 3 made it 29-28, the Seminoles’ first lead since it was 5-4.
The Bears trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, but kept clawing back.
James’ two inside baskets, including an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Kitchen pushed the lead 59-55 with 4:38 left. After FSU tied it 59-59 on Dunn’s layup, Singleton made a wide-open 3 from the left corner, and Kitchen hit a pair of free throws to make it 64-59 with 2:04 remaining.
Florida State missed three late free throws, including two by Dunn with 41 seconds left. Dunn entered the game as an 88 percent free throw shooter.
Quincy Acy, who had 16 points and five rebounds, was fouled on his layup that cut the lead to 64-61 with 26 seconds left but missed the free throw. That was as close as the Bears got.
The Seminoles outscored the Bears 28-18 in the paint and had a 43-35 rebounding advantage.
Florida State beat host Hawaii in the opener and lost to Butler 67-64 in the semifinals on Thursday. Baylor defeated San Diego in the opening round and lost to Washington State 77-71 in the semifinals.