St. Petersburg Times Online: Sports

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

College basketball

Seminoles turn back challenging Panthers

Florida State holds Birmingham Southern to eight in the final 11:23.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 16, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- It wasn't easy or pretty, but Florida State got the win, 56-47 over Birmingham Southern on Sunday.

What looked to be an automatic W on the schedule turned into a dogfight until the Seminoles (5-1) pulled away late in the second half.

"We are not the kind of team that cannot be hitting on all cylinders and still be successful," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Today we learned a very valuable lesson, that we need to be playing at our best at all times for us to win."

FSU was down 33-25 at halftime, unable to do the simple things: make free throws (4-for-12) and layups (eight misses). A new team emerged during the second.

The Seminoles opened with a 13-6 run to pull within 38-39 with 11:23 left, then shut down the Panthers offense, allowing eight points the rest of the game.

Anthony Richardson started the second with a jumper and was fouled on a layup, converting the three-point play.

Freshman guard Todd Galloway had 10 points in the final 20 minutes after scoring two in the first 20.

"I was just trying to get to the hole so we could get moving instead of being stationary and shooting jump shots and also try to get to the foul line," Galloway said.

Grant Davis converted two 3-pointers to keep Birmingham Southern (4-3) within striking distance.

Galloway then made four free throws as FSU improved to 89.5 percent from the line in the second. The Panthers shot 26.1 percent from the field in the second and did not get to the line.

Nate Johnson hit a 3 to give FSU a 54-45 lead with about two minutes left.

"We didn't come out with the energy that we usually come out with," guard Tim Pickett said. "We just didn't have that today."

Pickett, who scored 15 in the first, finished with 19 to lead all scorers. Without Pickett's shots, FSU made 3-of-19 in the first and shot 15 percent from the floor.

The Seminoles were better from the free-throw line, shooting 41.7 percent.

"To (the players') credit, they made the mental and emotional adjustments coming out in the second half," Hamilton said. "They stepped up and made free throws and made the shots they are supposed to make."

Corey Watkins led Birmingham Southern with 13 points. FSU held Derrick Williams, averaging 16 points, to three.

Florida State was without sophomore guard Andrew Wilson, who is out 10 weeks after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist. The Seminoles missed Wilson's ability to run offensive sets and act like a coach on the floor.

"There's more of a workload for everybody now that Andrew is out," Galloway said. "I feel like we can step up to the table and get it done now."

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.