Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Third-seeded Florida State survives vs. Florida Gulf Coast

Third-seeded Florida State survives vs. Florida Gulf Coast

What: No. 3 Florida State (25-8) vs.

FSU seemed to be pulling away for a rout of Florida Gulf Coast, but sloppy play late helped the scrappy Eagles get back into the contest.

That underscored much of how the second half unraveled for the Seminoles, who provided timely responses each time the upset-minded Eagles made a push.

Ask Florida State fans what they think about head basketball coach Leonard Hamilton and you'll get a mixed bag. "I thought at the beginning of the game everybody had that kind of nervous exhaustion, so to speak. I love winning. To win on this stage would just be another - just part of my dream, just more to my dream". Cromer - who finished with 19 points, but appeared poised for a much bigger day before Hill drew him full-time - while Chiozza steadied the Gators down the stretch, as more of ETSU's nine threes kept the game from getting entirely out of reach, and scored his points on just five shots.

The challenge of matching up with FSU's high-flying act on Saturday night now goes to 11th-seeded Xavier, which knocked off No. 6 Maryland 76-65. Zach Johnson chipped in 17 points, five assists and four rebounds.

In fact, Coach White really appreciated the effort of Robinson on both ends of the floor tonight and he had this to say about it after the game.

That just explains the difficulty of beating a team like Florida State. The Seminoles, making their first tournament appearance since 2012, will now advance in the West Region.

Of course, that will require better performances in tough environments than they put together in road losses to North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Duke during conference play.

Florida will take on the Virginia Cavaliers in Orlando in round two Saturday, with the victor earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

This time around, FGCU has continued that "Dunk City" culture, but in the first half against Florida State, it was the Seminoles' Dwayne Bacon showing off his dunking prowess.

Morant, one of the two tallest players on the team at 6-foot-9, took a nasty spill after a collision down along the baseline minutes into the second half.

Earlier in the game was quite different, though. Contact is inevitable. You know it's coming.

Goodwin's fearlessness even while going against a Seminoles frontline that includes the 6-foot-10 Isaac, 7-foot-1 Michael Ojo and 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje was evident.

"I think it's something to build on", he continued. And I'm proud of the people that's also redshirting to also make us better. We had a heck of a year. In fact, he only took one in the first half (naturally, he missed because FSU doesn't do the whole 3-point shooting thing very well) and instead was attacking the basket as relentlessly as he has all season. The 'Noles only hit 2 of 13, while FGCU hit 8 of 28 (not a good percentage, but it's a +18 margin from deep). He did not return.

FGCU (26-8) had hoped to relive the magic of their "Dunk City" run in 2013, and twice in the final 10 minutes the Eagles got within four points, only to have Bacon answer with a clutch jumper on the other end.

What it means: Florida not only won its first NCAA Tournament game since 2014 but did so against a pesky opponent that tested its will often, particularly in the first half.

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