@ACCMBB in the NIT: Clemson and Florida State Play in Semifinals
Tuesday April 1, 2014
Photo Courtesy of Rex Brown, IPTAY Media
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Seminoles.com) -- The Florida State men's basketball team's season ended with a 67-64 overtime loss to Minnesota Tuesday night in the NIT semifinal round at historic Madison Square Garden.
The Seminoles' (22-14) year may be over but they didn't go down without a fight, thanks to a valiant comeback effort in the Big Apple. Despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, FSU chipped away at that deficit and Devon Bookert's 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
But in the extra period the Gophers' (24-13) made seven of their 16 total free throws and the Seminoles were held to just one free throw and one field goal. Ian Miller's potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim as time -- and the `Noles' season -- expired.
Both teams played some bonus basketball because of a thrilling final four minutes of regulation play.
After Okaro White's two free throws gave the `Noles their first lead of the night at 51-50 with 4:10 on the game clock, Minnesota retaliated with back-to-back layups before Boris Bojanovsky snagged an offensive rebound and put back a score to make it a 54-53 game in favor of the Gophers.
Then trailing 60-55 with 21 seconds left after trading free throws for two Bookert lay-ups, White's intentional foul on Malik Smith then resulted in two missed free throws for the Gophers. White then secured the defensive rebound, flipped the ball to Bookert and the speedy point guard raced down the court and hit the overtime-forcing 3-pointer.
Bookert finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Playing in their last collegiate contest, White and Miller each scored 16 points with the former contributing a double-double with 12 points.
`Noles star sophomore Aaron Thomas was just 1-of-8 from the field for four points before fouling out late in the game.
The Seminoles hot 38.5 percent from the field and Minnesota was 38.9 percent. Hollins and Mathieu both scored 17 points to help set up an NIT finals matchup with SMU, who beat Clemson earlier in the night.
FSU won the rebounding battle 40-33 but had 18 turnovers to the Gophers' 11.
NEW YORK CITY - Despite nearly flawless shooting in the first half, Clemson saw a 12-point lead at halftime slip away in the second as SMU took control late in the first semifinal of the National Invitation Tournament in Madison Square Garden. The Tigers' season ends with a 23-13 overall record, an improvement of 10 wins over 2012-13. SMU advances to face the winner of the second semifinal between Florida State and Minnesota.
Rod Hall delivered a terrific performance in the final game of his junior season, his 98th in a Clemson uniform. The Augusta, Ga., native posted 18 points, made a career-high 3-of-4 from long range and made all seven of his attempts at the free throw line. K.J. McDaniels (11), Damarcus Harrison (10) and Landry Nnoko (10) added double figures for the Tigers. McDaniels blocked three shots to finish with an even 100 this season, one of only three players in Clemson history that can make that claim.
The Tigers shot 56 percent in the second half, but just 24 percent in the final 20 minutes. Clemson made seven of its first 10 three-point attempts, but struggled to one of its final 10 on the night. The smaller Tigers suffered a -10 margin on the boards. SMU dominated the action in the paint, 30-18.
SMU post player Markus Kennedy led the Mustangs with a 21-point, nine-rebound effort. The Mustangs shot just 37 percent in the opening frame, but 59 percent after intermission.