FSU runs past FGCU to advance in the NCAA tournament

Florida State held off a furious Florida Gulf Coast rally to advance in the NCAA tournament.

The Seminoles (26-8) defeated the Eagles (26-8) 86-80 in front of 15,869 fans in the Amway Center in the second round of the NCAA tournament in Orlando.

FSU held an 82-73 lead with just 47 seconds left, but the Eagles were able to fight their way back into the game by fouling the Seminoles. FSU struggled to make its free throws down the stretch., but managed to hit enough to hold off FGCU.

The Seminoles shortened their bench in the second half, and it paid off.

Point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes, guard Dwayne Bacon, guard Terance Mann, and Isaac staying on the court for more than 17 minutes a piece.

It was just the second time that the Seminoles and Eagles have met in basketball. FSU took the first meeting 58-53 win at home in the 2014 NIT.

FSU has now won its first game in the NCAA tournament in each of its last three trips. The last second round loss for the Seminoles came in 2010 when they fell 67-60 against Gonzaga.

The first half was as good as advertised between the two teams.

FSU got off to a hot start maintaining a 5-8 point lead for most f the half. Then FGCU went on a 12-0 run over four and a half minutes.

The Eagles switched to a zone defense, that caused FSU all types of problems. The Seminoles couldn't knock down their open shots - they didn't make a 3-point shot in the first half - and FGCU took a 31-28 lead with 3:19 remaining in the half.

That's when Bacon took over. He scored eight of his 16 first half points in the final 2:29 of the half including a floater with less than two seconds remaining.

The Seminoles went into the half with a 40-36 lead.

Terance Mann took over in the first four minutes of the second half with eight points - He did not score in the first half - to push the Seminoles out to a 53-44 lead.

Former Godby High School player Demetris Morant was having a big impact for the Eagles, but suffered a right leg injury that had him carried off the court and into the locker room early in the second half. He finished the game with five points and five rebounds.

The Eagles managed to pull the lead back to 64-60, but FSU put it right back into double digits. Bacon got the Seminoles going with mid-range shot, point guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes knocked down a 3-pointer, and forward Jonathan Isaac threw down a transition dunk to make it 71-60 with 7:33 left in the game.

Isaac finished the game with a double-double on 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mann finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

Tallahassee Democrat


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