FSU Holds Off Wolfpack
Posted by BillFromTampa
Florida State has been invited to the Big Dance aka the NCAA tournament. Well, not officially anyway.
But after holding off North Carolina State, 72-62, getting that highly valued eleventh conference win, the
Selection Sunday show next week will just be a formality. The only suspense for FSU will be what number seed and
Erasing Wednesday’s loss to the Tar Heels and building some momentum going into the ACC tournament was a
priority for the ‘Noles. And to do that the Seminoles knew they had to take care of business in Raleigh.
It seemingly started out easy enough, but it didn’t end up that way.
Florida State jumped out to a 7-0 lead before NC State scored its first basket with nearly four minutes gone in
The ‘Noles increased the lead to 16-7 after Ian Miller sank a three pointer from the right corner.
The Wolfpack tried to slow FSU down with a 1-3-1 zone defense.
That didn’t work as an offensive put back by Okaro White made it 23-10 at the 9:40 mark.
FSU maintained that margin, 29-16, when CJ Leslie was called for goal tending on a driving layup by Derwin
A cold spell for the ‘Noles lasting the next 3:30 saw FSU’s lead shrink to 29-23. But game MVP Kitchen put back
a missed Xavier Gibson jumper and Miller added another three.
A slam dunk by NC State’s Tracy Smith finished the scoring in the half with FSU leading 34-25.
Although the Seminoles turned the ball over ten times in that period, the Wolfpack could only capitalize on the
miscues with just one point. Woeful three point shooting (1-8) and mediocre free throw shooting (4-8) didn’t
help the Pack’s efforts.
But the Wolfpack were not about to go away easily. Getting the ball inside far more easily than Leonard Hamilton
liked, NC State chipped away.
FSU’s physical play prevented a number of point blank shots, but it caused a number of Seminoles to be in foul
trouble. Hamilton did a masterful job of rotating his players not losing one to fouling out.
However the Pack went to the line and went to it a lot.
Richard Howell, a player Hamilton mentioned specifically on his weekly call in show last Thursday as someone to
be very concerned about, was the primary recipient of those hard fouls. Howell’s two freebies with 9:40 left
tied the score at 50 all.
Momentum was definitely on the side of the Wolfpack who took their first lead of the game, 53-52, with 8:06
remaining on a three ball by Scott Wood from the left wing.
Following a FSU timeout, the lead changed hands twice. FSU then rattled off three consecutive layups, two from
Kitchen and one Michael Snaer forcing Sidney Lowe to call a timeout with the ‘Noles leading 60-55 and 5:40 to
Now playing from behind and time growing short, the Pack started rushing and were not as efficient offensively.
Thanks to the steadying leadership of Kitchen, his two free throws opened up a 68-60 lead with two to play.
Just seconds later, the Wolfpack tried to lob a pass down low but instead was picked off by Bernard James.
NC State could only manage to score an uncontested layup while sending Snaer to the line four more times.
Lowe called his team off with 25 seconds left.
Kitchen led four Seminoles in double figures with 17 to go along with a game high 13 rebounds and just one
turnover. James added 14, Snaer 13, and Jon Kreft had a career high 12 points with one basket coming on a
previously unseen drop step move to the baseline around the Pack post player.
CJ Leslie was the lone NC State player in double digits with 12 points.
As a team FSU shot 48% while holding the Pack to 39%.
For NC State the only post season suspense will be when Lowe will be fired.
Florida State finishes the regular season at 21-9, 11-5 and will next play the winner of the 6/11 matchup
between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech on Friday at 9:00 PM.