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. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.