Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NCAA Tournament: Florida State survives vs. Florida Gulf Coast

ORLANDO — Florida State is back in the NCAA Tournament, and the Seminoles are coming for other schools' nicknames.

The third-seeded Seminoles, making their first NCAA appearance in five years, held off 14th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 86-80 late Thursday at Amway Center, spoiling the "Dunk City" underdogs and unofficially outdunking them 9-2.

"They're Dunk City, but I think our team led the nation in dunks, so it kind of speaks for itself," said FSU freshman Jonathan Isaac, who had two dunks as part of his double double of 17 points and 10 rebounds. "That's what we do. We're long, we're athletic."

The Seminoles (26-8) play at 6:10 p.m. Saturday in the West Region third round against 11th-seeded Xavier, a 76-65 winner over No. 6 Maryland earlier in the night. A win over the Musketeers will put FSU in the Sweet 16 for only the second time since 1993, nine years before Leonard Hamilton took over as coach.

"We had a lot of anxious moments," Hamilton said of his team's win. "In the beginning of the game, everybody kind of had that nervous exhaustion, so to speak. After two or three possessions they all were like they were stepping in mud, but that's part of being on this stage. Hopefully we'll be more relaxed as we move on to the next game.

"We were very fortunate to hang on for the victory."

FGCU (26-8) had hoped to relive the magic of its Dunk City run in 2013, and twice in the final 11 minutes the Eagles got within four points, only to have FSU's Dwayne Bacon (25 points) answer with a clutch jumper on the other end.

On the second one, FSU went up 66-60, then got a 3-pointer from Xavier Rathan-Mayes and a transition dunk by Isaac for a 71-60 lead.

The 'Noles used their size and physicality to a significant advantage on the boards, outrebounding FGCU 46-26. FSU's biggest players stepped up, with 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje getting seven points and four blocks and 7-foot-1, 304-pound Michael Ojo getting six points and two blocks. Their inside play helped offset FSU shooting a dismal 15 percent (2-of-13) from beyond the arc. The Seminoles also struggled from the free-throw line, just as they have throughout the season, shooting 62 percent (24-of-39).

Now the Seminoles have a clear path to the Sweet 16, facing another low seed in Xavier, having gotten past one upset-minded underdog already.

"I told Coach Ham it's been fun, with the exception of tonight, watching his team," fourth-year FGCU coach Joe Dooley said. "He's done a great job. The sky's the limit for them. They've got depth, athleticism. They can make a deep run in this tournament."

The Eagles, playing in the tournament for the third time in five years, got 28 points from guard Brandon Godwin, a UCF transfer, in a losing effort.

"I'm disappointed that we lost, but I don't think it diminishes the year we had," Dooley said. "It's disappointing but hopefully something we can build on moving forward."

NCAA Tournament: Florida State survives vs. Florida Gulf Coast 03/17/17 [Last modified: Friday, March 17, 2017 10:12am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)