For the first time since 2012, Florida State men’s basketball won a game in the NCAA Tournament, defeating FGCU 86-80.
Above the Rim:
First things first. Everyone knows Florida Gulf Coast has been dubbed “Dunk City”, although you would’ve thought that distinction belonged to Florida State after watching Thursday night’s game. “Dunk City” only threw it down twice, while the ’Noles had jams. Part of the reason “Dunk City” only had two slams is because FSU had 9 blocked shots (4 from Christ Koumadje, 3 from Jonathan Isaac, and 2 from Michael Ojo).
Dwayne Bacon started sizzling from the field, beginning the game hitting 8 of his first 10 shots. He would score a team high 25 points on 11-17 shooting and brought down nine rebounds —- second to Jonathan Isaac who had 17 points and 10 boards.
From the field, Florida State shot well as a team, hitting 68% of its two-point shots. However, from beyond the arc, the team had its issues, allowing the Eagles to stay close throughout. The ‘Noles only hit 2 of 13, while FGCU hit 8 of 28 (not a good percentage, but it’s a +18 margin from deep).
From the charity stripe, FSU continued its struggles with a poor (24-39) 61.5% on Thursday. If the Seminoles want to continue in the Big Dance, that number will need to improve. It must be said that the Seminoles made more FT’s (24) than the Eagles attempted (20). That’s always been one of Duke’s keys, and I think they’ve been successful over the years.
Along with the dunks and blocks, FSU utilized its size on the glass. The ’Noles out-rebounded FGCU 46-26 including 9-7 on the offensive glass. In the second half alone, Florida State grabbed 27 boards to Florida Gulf Coast’s 13.
Florida State led by as many as nine in the first half, but FGCU went on a 12-0 run late, giving the Eagles life. There were two different stretches where FSU went more than three minutes without scoring a point, with the latter lasting more than five minutes. Fortunately, FSU still went into the half up 40-36 compliments of Dwayne Bacon. The super sophomore finished the half with Florida State’s final six points, giving him 16 at the break.
In the second half, the ’Noles never relinquished the lead, despite their inability to put the game to bed. They committed 11 turnovers (some of the very sloppy variety) and were very fortunate they only led to seven FGCU points.
Overall, FSU led for 35:48 of the 40:00, but they never had a lead larger than 12. The ’Noles were never really able to take off in that second half, but it still never really felt as if the Eagles had a chance to win.
Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton used every scholarship player during the March Madness opener. Within the first seven minutes of the game, 11 different Seminoles had taken the court. By game’s end, 10 of them had played at least seven minutes. Serviceable depth is one advantage FSU possesses the deeper they advance, as teams play so many games in a short span.
Post Game Video and Quotes:
Jonathan Issac on #FSU out-dunking FGCU 9-2: "They might be Dunk City but we're Dunk Nation."— Kenny Morales (@KennyMoralesTV) March 17, 2017
Waiting at the Scorer’s Table:
Florida State will take on the 11th-seeded Xavier Muskateers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at 6:10 PM EST. The game will be televised on TNT.