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No. 11 FSU basketball celebrates Senior Day with blowout of Boston College

MJ Walker leads the way with monster night from behind the arc,

Mike Olivella

No. 11 Florida State basketball celebrated senior night with a 93-64 blowout win over Boston College. The Seminoles dominated the Eagles from start to finish. BC got the first basket of the game, but never led again after the first minute of the game. The Seminoles were lights all night, shooting 56% from the field and 13-27 from beyond the arc. FSU’s defense pressured BC for forty minutes, with 23 Eagles’ turnovers leading to 34 Florida State points.

To honor the seniors, Leonard Hamilton started all seniors, including four walk-ons against the Eagles. On the first possession of the game, Harrison Prieto emphatically rejected a BC lay-up. RayQuan Evans grabbed his own miss and laid in two second-chance points to open the scoring for the ‘Noles. Justin Lindner gave the Seminoles their first lead of the game with a hard drive and finish in the paint.

It was a three-point show early for both sides. M.J. Walker drained his first shot of the day with a corner three. Walker found Anthony Polite a couple possessions later for a corner three of his own. Next possession, it was Walker’s turn again. Three different Eagles hit a three-pointer to keep Boston College in the game early. The two teams combined to shoot 7-11 from deep in the first six minutes of the game. Walker’s third triple in the first six minutes gave the Seminoles a 16-13 lead at the first media timeout of the game.

BC stayed hot out of the media timeout, as sophomore guard Jay Heath drained his second triple to make it a one-point game. Sardaar Calhoun quickly responded to Heath’s triple with one of his own, just seconds after being subbed into the game for the first time. Tanor Ngom made it a nine-point FSU lead at the second media timeout of the game with a strong finish inside for an and-one. The Seminoles started the game 9-12 from the field.

Calhoun, who took some ankles on his first triple, showed off his diverse skill-set early. The guard put a no-look, behind-the-back pass on the money for Balsa Koprivica, who finished off the possession with a non-contested floater for two. The Seminoles forced a shot-clock violation for the third time in just 12 minutes to send the game to the under-eight media timeout with FSU sustaining their eight-point lead.

A steal and dunk from Polite gave FSU their first 10-point lead out of the timeout. RaiQuan Gray converted a tough and-one to push the lead to 14, before swiping the ball from a BC player and hammering it home for a fast-break dunk. The dunk pushed the lead to 16 as the Eagles used their first timeout with 6:07 remaining in the half.

FSU held a 45-29 lead at the final media timeout of the half after Scottie Barnes and Wyatt Wilkes both drained their first triples. Walker splashed home his fourth triple of the half to send the Seminoles to the locker room with a 53-35 lead. The senior led the way with 12 points on 4-5 shooting. As a team, the Seminoles shot 62.1% from the field and made eight of 15 three-pointers. FSU had 10 more fast-break points than the Eagles. Boston College shot 46.7% from deep and were still down 18 at half. Polite added eight points and four boards, while Barnes dished out six assists.

Florida State came storming out of the locker rooms. Gray started off the scoring for FSU in the second half with a floater just inside the paint, giving the Seminoles their first 20-point lead of the night. Walker continued his hot shooting with another corner three on his first shot of the half. Gray was next in line for FSU, as he drained his first triple to make it a 25-point lead. Gray’s triple gave him 12 points on the night, making it 11 straight games in double-digits for the junior. Boston College called their second timeout as a Nate Jack floater gave FSU a 65-38 lead with 16:50 remaining.

A 6-0 Boston College run in just forty seconds cut the lead to 20 at the U-12 media timeout. Heath was the one thorn in FSU’s side all night. He drained back-to-back triples heading into the timeout. He was 7-11 from deep with 23 points with 11 minutes remaining. FSU had seven turnovers in the first half and seven in the first nine minutes of the second half.

The ‘Noles stretched their lead back to 26 by the next media timeout. Dunks from Koprivica and Barnes gave Florida State a 79-53 lead with 7:47 remaining. FSU’s defense turned up the intensity after Heath’s threes, as they forced three Boston College turnovers and held the Eagles scoreless for the next five-plus minutes. Walker’s sixth triple opened up a 29-point lead. It was Walker’s last basket on the Tucker Center hardwood, as he was subbed out to a standing ovation with five minutes remaining.

The green team put the exclamation mark on the win. Redshirt senior Will Miles dropped in a reverse lay-up with under a minute left, before Prieto drained a triple just before the buzzer.

Walker led the way with 18 points on 6-9 shooting from deep. Gray was a perfect 7-7 from the floor, posting 16 points, two boards, two steals, and two assists. Polite added 13 more points on 4-7 shooting. He also six boards and four steals.

FSU’s win finished another perfect season at home in ACC play. The ‘Noles have won 25 straight games at home in ACC play, one away from tying Duke’s record of 26-straight wins. Florida State is now one win away from securing their second straight ACC Championship.