'Noles upend Clemson

For Florida State to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive, a win over the visiting Clemson Tigers was the first order of business. Senior guard Tim Pickett obviously was not going to have it any other way. His game high 16 points led the Seminoles to a 65-52 victory giving the 'Noles its most league wins in three years.

Now with a 5-6 ACC record, 17-8 overall, the win breaks a string of three straight years with only four ACC victories.

As often happens for Pickett, he is hot in one period and not in another. This time it was the first half scoring 15. More specifically it was the the first three minutes as Pickett started with back to back three pointers and followed that by stealing the ball from Shawan Robinson for the layup.

Although it was a pace tha tfavored the usually physical Tigers, FSU executed and shot the ball better. The 'Nole soutshot Clemson 50% to 38% from the field. And unlike the earlier game this season where Clemson could not miss a three point shot, the Tigers were only 3-12 from the arc versus 6-16 for the Seminoles.

A major factor in the game was FSU's bench. Led by Anthony Richardson and Adam Waleskoski's 8 points each, the FSU bench outpaced the Tiger bench 32-11.

With Pickett on fire early, FSU raced out to a 13-2 lead. When he didn't score, Pickett found Waleskowski along the streaking to the rim along the baseline for the reverse layup.

Leonard Hamilton had seen enough and called timeout after Clemson closed the score to 15-12. Pickett responded with another three pointer and the defense stepped up to force a shot clock violation by Clemson. FSU stretched the lead to 23-12 at the 7:53 mark when Pickett made his 15th point of the half on one of two free throws.

The Seminole defense fell into a lapse once again and let the Tigers pull to wihtin six, 28-22.

Pickett picked up his second foul and found the bench with 5:48 left in the half. It was up to the bench to hold the nine point lead. Richardson, Waleskowski, and Wafer all contributed keeping the same margin as the game went to the half at 35-26.

Todd Galloway had to start the second half due to Nate Johnson having cramping problems. The offense kept the pressure on though as Alexander Johnson (7 second half points), Waleskowski, and Richardson, combined for 8 points to build a 43-31 lead with 14:50 remaining.

Clemson made a run shortly afterwards. Back to back baskets, the second a breakaway steal, from Lamar Rice made it 48-44.

However a critical play just seconds later seemed to derail the Tiger's chances of a win. Trailing 49-44, Chris Hobbs kneed Alexander Johnson and was called for the foul. Sharrod Ford attempted to pull the angry Hobbs away from the refs. But Hobbs was teed up for the techical for this 5th foul of the game.

Clemson never was in sync again as FSU went on an 11-2 run. Alexnader Johnson recovered a Clemson steal in frony of FSU's bench. Moving quickly to the basket against two defenders, he was fouled on the play and converted both attempts. Vernon Hamilton turned the ball over by stepping on the baseline. Waleskowski got the defense in the air for the easy layup. A loose ball was picked up and made its way to Pickett who found Galloway streaking to the FSU basket. Galloway finished the run by forcing Hamilton to foul.

FSU now led 60-46 with 3:48 to play and never looked back. Clemson just did not have enough firepower and teh FSU defense made sure they wouldn't find any.

What sealed the game was with 2:10 remaining when Richardson flipped the ball in with one second on the shot clock.

Ford led Clemson with 13 points and was the only Tiger in double figures. Ford was held however to 2 points over the last twenty minutes.

Florida State will attempt to state their case again for a NCAA invite next Tuesday. It will be another chance at a team that beat them earlier when the Virginia Cavaliers visit the civic center. Tip off is at 7:00 PM.

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