March 1, 2007 - by
Seminoles Close Out Regular Season At Miami on Saturday At Noon

March 1, 2007

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Florida State closes out its regular season as it travels to play at Miami on Saturday March 3, 2007 at the BankUnited Center on the campus of the University of Miami. The Seminoles’ game against the Hurricanes marks the second consecutive season they will play their final regular season game of the season on the road against Miami. Florida State defeated Miami, 67-64, in the regular season finale for both teams a year ago. The Seminoles come into their game against the Hurricanes looking to win the unofficial collegiate championship of the State of Florida. With victories over then No. 4/4 Florida (Dec. 7, 70-66), Stetson (Dec. 5, 82-63) and Miami (Jan. 20, 86-67), the Seminoles are undefeated against their opponents from the Sunshine State. The Seminoles have played 19 games in the Sunshine State and are 16-3 (.842 winning percentage) in those games this season. The Seminoles are 14-3 at home in the Donald L. Tucker Center (.813), 1-0 at Stetson in DeLand, Fla. (Dec. 5, 70-66) and 1-0 at the St Pete Times Forum (Dec. 29, 92-62 vs. Providence). The Seminoles are 8-6 (and have won two straight) in their final game of the regular season since joining the ACC to begin the 1991-92 season. Following Saturday’s game against Miami, the Seminoles travel to play in the 54th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at the St. Pete Time Forum (March 8-11).

All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton has proven himself to be the TOP PLAYER in the nation’s TOP CONFERENCE throughout the season. He has not taken a night off since the beginning of the season and enters Saturday’s regular season finale as the ONLY player ranked in the ACC’s top seven in overall scoring (second, career-high 19.2 ppg), rebounding (seventh, career-high 7.2 rebounds per game), free throw shooting percentage (sixth, .810), field goal shooting percentage (seventh, .520) and offensive rebounds per game (third, 3.1 orpg). Thornton has raised the level of his game even higher in ACC play. He is the leading scorer and rebounder in conference games only with career-best averages of 22.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 15 conference games.

…Defeat Miami and gain two victories in the regular season series between the Seminoles and the Hurricanes. It will mark Florida State’s first sweep of Miami since the Hurricanes joined the ACC;
…Defeat Miami and gain their first two-game series sweep in the ACC this season. It will mark the second consecutive season the Seminoles have swept at least conference series – they won two games against Virginia last season;
…Defeat Miami and win in Coral Gables for the second consecutive season. The Seminoles were led by All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton’s 18 points and 13 rebounds in last seasons 67-64 victory in the BankUnited Center;
…Defeat Miami and win its seventh ACC game of the season. It would mark the first time since the 1992 and 1993 seasons that the Seminoles had won at least seven ACC games in consecutive seasons. Florida State earned a 9-7 ACC record and a fifth place finish in the ACC standings during the 2005-06 season;
…Defeat Miami and win its 19th game of the season. The Seminoles did not win their 19th game of the season a year ago until March 15, 2006 with a victory over Miami in the final regular season game of the season.

Florida State has won four games against teams ranked in the nation’s top 25 in various polls as its begins play on the final weekend of the regular season. The Seminoles defeated Florida (who has spent a college basketball high eight weeks as the nation’s No. 1 ranked team) (Dec. 7, 70-66), Duke (Feb. 4, 68-67), Virginia Tech (Jan. 17, 82-83) and Maryland Jan. 30, 96-70) – with their victory over the Blue Devils coming on the road in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Seminoles have played three more teams – Wisconsin (Nov. 28), Pittsburgh (Nov. 24) and North Carolina (Jan. 7) who currently appear in the nation’s top 25 of one of the major national polls. The Seminoles have not lost a game to a team ranked lower than 51st in the latest College rankings and have played the nation’s 16th toughest schedule.

Florida State is FIRST in the ACC and FIFTH in the NATION in free throw shooting percentage entering Saturday’s game against Miami. The Seminoles are on school record pace and are looking to lead the ACC in free throw shooting for the first time ever with their .767 mark from the line. Florida State has been ranked among the nation’s leaders throughout the season and was ranked No. 1 during the last two weeks with their free throw line performances.

Seminoles Ranked Fifth Nationally
Rank    Team            FTM    FTA    Pct.    Notes
1.      California      361    436    .7830   Pac 10 Leader
2.      Villanova       481    620    .7758   Big East Leader
3.      Utah State      424    549    .7723   WAC Leader
4.      Air Force       395    513    .7699   MWC Leader
5.      Florida State   422    550    .7673   ACC Leader

All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton, who is shooting a career-high .810 from the free throw line is one of eight Seminoles shooting 75 percent or above from the free throw line entering Saturday’s game against Miami. Thornton is one of the most improved Seminoles from the free throw line with an improvement of nearly 17 percentage points this season as compared to his freshman season. He is one of three Seminoles (also Jerel Allen and Uche Echefu) who have improved their free throw shooting percentage by more than 16 percentage points. Allen has realized an improvement of better than 26 percentage points, Echefu 22 percentage points and Thornton just over 16 percentage points. As a team, the Seminoles have improved by just under six percentage points.

Florida State is shooting a solid .473 from the field for the season entering Saturday’s game against Miami. A very telling statistic of their success in ACC play has been how well they have shot the ball in their ACC wins as compared to their ACC losses. Buoyed by their season-high .617 shooting performance in their win over Maryland (Jan. 30 .617, 37-of-60) the Seminoles are shooting .491 in their six ACC wins as compared to .421 in their conference losses.

Florida State has blocked more shots in 29 games this season (90 / 3.1 bpg) than it did in 30 games during the 2005-06 season (72 / 2.4 bpg). The Seminoles have earned more (or at least as many) blocked shots as their opponents in three of the last four seasons.

F	#12	Al Thornton (19.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg; 18 pts and 13 rebs vs. Miami, March 5, 2006)
F	#41	Uche Echefu (7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg; 13 pts and 3 rebs vs. Miami, Jan. 20. 2007)
G	#3	Isaiah Swann (9.7 ppg, 3.1 apg; 14 pts and 3 rebs vs. Miami, Jan. 20, 2007)
G	#10	Ralph Mims (5.4 ppg, 2.5 apg; 8 pts and 3 asts vs. Miami, Jan. 20, 2007)
G	#25	Jason Rich (10.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg; 16 pts and 4 rebs vs. Miami, Jan. 20, 2007)
G	#11	Jerel Allen (4.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg; 5 pts and 0 rebs vs. Miami, Jan. 29, 2006)
F	#15	Casaan Breeden (3.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg; 8 pts and 4 rebs vs. Miami, Jan. 20, 2007)
F	#42	Ryan Reid (2.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg; 4 pts and 2 stls vs. Miami, Jan. 20, 2007)

F	#32	Brian Asbury (12.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg; 12 pts and 7 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 20, 2007)
F	#44	Keaton Copeland (3.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg; 0 pts and 4 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 20, 2007)
C	#21	Dwayne Collins (8.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg; 12 pts and 4 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 20, 2007)
G	#12	Anthony Harris (9.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg; 13 pts and 6 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 29, 2006)
G	#33	Jack McLinton (16.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg; 8 pts and 4 rebs vs. Florida State, Jan. 20, 2007)

The Series: Florida State leads, 30-27
Last Game: Jan. 20, 2007; at Florida State 86, Miami 67
Last Florida State Win: Jan. 20, 2007; at Florida State 86, Miami 67
Last Miami Win: Jan. 29, 2006; Miami 84, at Florida State 78 (OT)
Last Florida State Win in Miami: March 5, 2006; Florida State 67, Miami 64
Last Miami win in Miami: Jan. 15, 2005; Miami 64, Florida State 63
Current Streak vs. Miami: Florida State has won 2
Leonard Hamilton vs. Miami: 4-3 (all at Florida State)

Jason Rich scored 16 points and Al Thornton added 15 as Florida State ran past Miami 86-67 on Jan. 20 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee. The Seminoles shot 50.9 percent and were 13 of 23 from 3-point range. Rich sparked an early run that put the Seminoles up by a dozen midway through the first half and the game was never close afterward. Florida State, which led by 33 late in the game, built its lead to 60-36 early in the second half and upped it to 69-39 on Jerel Allen’s layup with 10:59 left. Florida State led 47-28 at the half, benefiting mostly from deadly outside shooting – hitting nine of 13 from 3-point distance. The Seminoles hit 7 of their first 10 tries from long distance while building a 25-13 lead midway through the opening half. Two of Rich’s 3-point shots, just 28 seconds apart, started an 18-5 Seminole run that opened the early 12-point lead. Miami, meanwhile, was cold from the floor – shooting just 35.5 percent and only 30.8 percent in the first half. The Hurricanes were led by Denis Clemente’s 15 points. Anthony Harris, Brian Asbury and Dwayne Collins all contributed a dozen. Thornton hit 6 of his 10 shots and was one of four Seminoles with four rebounds. At the half, Florida State retired the uniform jersey of former player and Coach Hugh Durham, whose 1972 Seminoles finished as the 1972 NCAA runner-up to UCLA.

All-America, ACC Player of the Year and All-ACC First-Team candidate Al Thornton is averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the last two Seminole games against Miami.

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