The Florida State Seminoles defeated the Georgetown Hoyas 101-90 Monday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the NIT.
At the game’s onset, it looked like the story would be Georgetown’s shooting. The Hoyas relied heavily on the long ball early, as the ‘Noles packed things inside with a 2-3 zone. Four of Georgetown’s first six field goal attempts were three-point tries– and three went in, staking them to an 11-9 lead at the first media timeout. The FSU offense battled an aggressive Georgetown half-court trap that infused an element of chaos into the early proceedings.
As the half wore on, the Hoyas extended their trapping efforts past half court, but FSU passed nicely and took its first lead, extending to a 19-14 advantage. But Georgetown continued its long-range attack (they would sink nine bombs on the night) and reclaimed a 21-19 lead when Okaro White was whistled for goaltending. White responded with a three-pointer at the other end, though, igniting a Seminole run that sparked a 28-23 lead and prompted Hoya coach John Thompson III to call a timeout. FSU extended to a six-point margin at the under-four timeout.
Shortly thereafter, the refs had to get in between 6’3″ Seminole Ian Miller and Georgetown’s seven-foot center Bradley Hayes. If that doesn’t sound like the smartest move, it wasn’t– for Hayes. Some players don’t play well angry; Miller’s not one of them. The senior, who coach Leonard Hamilton revealed was a game-time decision, reacted by nailing a three on the next two Florida State possessions, and the rest of the team followed suit. A half that began as a Georgetown three-point shootout wound up an FSU sniper clinic, as the Seminoles made 8 of 13 from downtown in the half and led 48-35 at the half. Per Aaron Thomas, FSU just concentrated on “staying focused after the technicals.”
The Seminoles looked to pull away early in the second stanza, as a Michael Ojo dunk opened up a 15-point spread. But the Hoyas showed heart and poured in seven straight, forcing a Hamilton timeout. Devon Bookert responded with his third trey in as many attempts, and an Okaro White layup had the lead back to double digits, where it remained most of the second half.
At about the midway point of the second half, Georgetown went to some full court pressure, but the ‘Noles were locked in, and Miller continued to pour in trifectas: after beginning 0-2 from distance, he went 4-4 after his little altercation with Hayes. The lead ballooned to 80-63 with eight minutes left, as FSU had its best night shooting threes (11-16) since it went 16-24 against Maryland on January 12th. The Hoyas attempted to scrap their way back, and there was a little scuffle, but this outcome was apparent for quite some time, as the ‘Noles simply outshot Georgetown. This was the Seminoles’ second-highest total offensive output of the season: they tallied 106 against Charlotte on December 17th. Thomas led Florida State with 26 points, and Devon Bookert contributed 21. Said Thomas of Bookert: “he brought his big boy pants today.” Miller finished with 18, and White had 16. FSU ended up with a gaudy field goal percentage of 68.2%. The Seminoles also hit on 30 of 38 at the foul line.
Miller’s pluck wasn’t only admired by Seminole supporters. Said Thompson of Miller after the game: “That kid’s a hell of a player.”
The win leaves FSU one win from traveling to Madison Square Garden to play in the NIT Final Four. They’ll play their last home game of the season Wednesday night against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, the team that eliminated Florida State from last year’s NIT.