Florida State 86, FGCU 80: Instant NCAA Tournament recap

Trevor Jackson
March 18, 2017

"My background is from Florida State, but this is where I am".

The Musketeers (22-13) played far from a flawless game but have a player in Bluiett who will attack the Seminoles relentlessly as Eagles guard Brandon Goodwin did while scoring 28 points.

Leading the charge in the first NCAA Tournament game of his collegiate career, Brandon Goodwin finished with 28 points and seven assists while Zach Johnson added 17 points and five assists.

FGCU closed to 82-77 with 33.3 seconds remaining, but never truly threatened despite FSU opening the door several times with missed free throws and turnovers in the final minutes.

The Seminoles also struggled from the free-throw line, just as they notoriously have throughout the season, firing 62 percent (24 of 39). The Seminoles had the size and athleticism advantage, which made it hard for the Eagles to get to the paint.

At one point, Xavier Rathan-Mayes tried to save a loose ball and ran into a photographer. Isaac made FSU's first 3-pointer with 12:45 to go in the second half. Sometimes they shot it in transition offense, drawing two or three guys getting other guys a shot.

Florida was impressive all season long, knocking off tourney teams Seton Hall, Kentucky, Miami, South Carolina and FGCU, and representing themselves well in losses to Duke, Florida State, and Gonzaga. Back in March Madness again, sans Enfield, FGCU entered as the No. 14 seed with a matchup against Dwayne Bacon and the Florida State Seminoles. The victor is headed to the Sweet 16 in San Jose, Calif. They upset second-seeded Georgetown and seventh-seeded San Diego State in Philadelphia before falling against third-seeded Florida. After beating Florida in the 1992 NIT semifinals, UVa got housed by the Gators 71-45 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.

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"Just trying to contain him and just try to limit touches for him", Florida sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen said when asked about guarding Cromer.

This FGCU team had much greater expectations than did that one, despite being a 12-point underdog according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. It was his 14th game of the season with at least 20 points.

The Seminoles then exploded.

FGCU was able to whittle the double-digit deficit in the closing minute. After an alley oop from Braian Angola-Rodas to 7-foot-1 Michael Ojo, FSU led 28-19 with just under eight minutes left in the first half.

But Dooley made two excellent adjustments.

"Well, it's obvious that he's been our go-to guy all year", FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. The Seminoles worked better for drives along the baseline and with backdoors and got three straight dunks by three different players. 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.

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