On senior day in front of a sold out crowd, Florida State led from start to finish in dominating fashion to beat the Boston College Eagles 80-62. The win moves FSU to 26-5 on the season and gave the Seminoles an undefeated home record for the second time in four years.
If there ever was a game that exemplified the selfless, “18-strong” program that Leonard Hamilton has built in Tallahassee, this might have been it. Dominik Olejniczak, celebrating his second senior day, opened the game up with an offensive rebound put-back off a Trent Forrest miss. Call it an unconventional senior-to-senior start. Two RaiQuan Gray dunks, one after he grabbed his own missed three and one off a silky smooth hesitation move that froze his defender in his tracks, made it 6-0 and Boston College called timeout two minutes in.
A little bit of sloppy play allowed BC to get within one at 9-8, but two straight Trent Forrest layups got the ‘Noles back on track. Then, with an emphatic block that brought a lively crowd to its feet, Patrick Williams let the Eagles know that any chance they thought they had of pulling the upset wasn’t happening. The freshman followed up his block with a pull-up jumper on the other end, and a subsequent Wyatt Wilkes three made it 19-11. Rayquan Evans grabbed a steal that eventually turned into a Williams put-back jam and the lead was out to double digits thanks to a 13-3 run.
Next it was Balsa Koprivika’s turn, with the freshman scoring seven straight for the Seminoles capped off by back-to-back thunderous throw-downs. Devin Vassell got into the action next on a three-ball, corner pocket and the lead ballooned up to 32-17.
From there, things got a tad sloppy as the ‘Noles hunted highlight reel plays—mostly unsuccessful. Coach Hamilton opted for a full out line change, bringing in five fresh guys coming in to close out the half. Included in that group was Anthony Polite, who drilled a three with 49 seconds remaining to give FSU their 42-24 halftime lead.
Nine players scored for Florida State in the first half alone, with the two freshmen leading the way with seven apiece.
The second half began nearly identically to the first: a Forrest miss cleaned up by Olejniczak. M.J. Walker hit a three on the next FSU possession and the ‘Noles now led by 22, 47-25.
At this point the game was essentially over. In fact, many in the audience started tracking the final two minutes of the UVA-UL game, given the implications on FSU’s regular season ACC Title. Unless you made a wager on the spread, the only thing that really mattered was staying healthy.
Florida State didn’t shoot all that well in the second half. Actually, FSU shot pretty poorly, especially from three. The Seminoles got stuck on 60 points for three full minutes despite a number of wide open looks all over the court. Trent Forrest left the court in the Tucker Center one final time to a rousing standing ovation. Never mind that the senior only had 6 points on 2-7 shooting.
Because in the end, none of that made a hill of beans difference on the ultimate prize that everyone came out to see. In the end, the 2019-20 Florida State men’s basketball team accomplished something that no Seminoles team had ever done before.
Florida State won the 2020 outright ACC regular season title.