No.3 Florida State defeats No. 14 FGCU 86-80


And that was without Demetris Morant. The Eagles never really threatened from that point on.

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. The big man had five points and five rebounds before leaving the game with an injury.

"We've talked about that since Sunday", FSU assistant Stan Jones said. "It's been a great year, and we're looking forward to getting back to work next week to make sure next year is better still".

The Florida Gators' first score of their first NCAA tournament game came on a thunderous dunk by forward Devin Robinson.

But they kept fighting.

No. 3 seeded FSU now advances to play No. 11 seeded Xavier in the second round on Saturday.

"There's nothing mysterious about them at all", Hamilton said.

"It would mean everything, you know what I mean", ETSU athletic defensive stopper A.J. Merriweather said. The second bounced out and Dwayne Bacon, the FSU sophomore who terrorized the Eagles all night, scored the last of his 25 points at the free throw line, ending the comeback threat.

"I thought he started the game by - he said it already, just we've challenged him all year, and he's challenged himself to get out in transition, to really run".

With Morant out, 7-foot-4 Seminoles backup Christ Kouomadje scored five points in two minutes as the Florida State grew the lead to 56-46.

Then Dooley switched things up. Taylor Higginbotham averages better than 14 points. The Eagles are 18-0 when leading at intermission. Tucker took off from the baseline for a huge two hand jam over the head of 6-foot-9 Jarquez Smith.

FSU's above-the-rim playing style was a little too much for the Eagles, who tried to counter the Seminoles' athleticism with a flurry of three-point shots, but FGCU made only 8 of 28.

The Seminoles made all six of their final shots to go on a 12-5 run and take a 40-36 lead into halftime. "Today just shows that we can fight".

They made a big comeback and played with a lot of heart, but in the end, there was no soaring in Orlando.

All of those higher seeds stumbled down the stretch and have enough flaws that professional and amateur bracketologists across the country have them on upset alert.

If there was one positive for FGCU after Thursday, it's that the additions going into next season are greater than the subtractions.

"Michael Gilmore, Ricky Doyle, both are great guys that can replace Meech and Marc", Goodwin said. We fought hard, and they came in second in their league, and we played with them and played hard the whole game.