By JASON SCHNEIDER
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 7, 2003
TALLAHASSEE -- Tim Pickett, known for his offensive prowess, made a block that spurred Florida State as the Seminoles survived a dreadful first half to defeat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 72-56 Monday night.
Texas A&M-CC's Kemar Burrowes looked to have an easy layup to tie the score at 45 with 10:40 left, but Pickett stayed on Burrowes' heels and slammed his shot against the backboard.
The block elicited a thunderous ovation from the 5,233 in attendance and more importantly got Pickett's teammates pumped up enough to blow the game open with a 16-3 run.
"The thing that got us going was that Tim made a hustle play, and that was something we weren't doing real well early in the game, and he just picked us up and made us hustle," forward Anthony Richardson said.
Pickett's block ended a 14-4 Islanders run and got the Seminoles back on track.
Nate Johnson scooped the block and fed Todd Galloway for a layup. Galloway added two jumpers and Johnson had six of his eight points during the run.
Pickett, who was 3-of-13 in the first half, went 5-of-13 in the second on his way to 26 points, his second-most as a Seminole.
The junior college transfer had 32 against Davidson on Dec. 30.
"They were relying on me a lot and I was taking quick shots when I was getting open," Pickett said. "I felt like I was settling for less tonight.
"It was a learning experience for me tonight as a shooter."
FSU shot 51.4 percent from the floor in the second half to overcame a sloppy start.
The Seminoles shot 28.6 percent in the first half and were outrebounded 25-21 by the Islanders, whose starting lineup averages 6-foot-5.
FSU went into the half with a tenuous 28-26 lead after spending much of the time trailing the Islanders, whose defense surprised the Seminoles.
"They played a different kind of defense," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "A kind that I haven't seen in many, many years. They put a little guy in the middle and let him chase people out to the perimeter and it always seems to throw teams out of rhythm.
"Once we figured it out, we got shots; we just couldn't get them to fall."
The two-point lead was only due to the Islanders' own spotty play.
Texas A&M-CC shot 30.8 percent from the floor and had 11 turnovers in the half resulting in 11 FSU points. Only center Sean Cole did not have a turnover for the Islanders.
Michael Joiner, Pickett and Richardson finally got going after the break. Joiner and Pickett hit two jumpers each and Richardson added a jumper and was fouled on a layup as the Seminoles opened the half with a 13-3 run, getting out to a 41-29 lead.
It looked as if FSU would coast, but Texas A&M-CC would not let the Seminoles pull away.
Thomas Bailey hit a 3 to get the Islanders warmed up, and Texas A&M-CC got within two before Pickett's block finally sent the game FSU's way.
"I was proud of the way our guys kept playing hard," Hamilton said. "I didn't sense any frustration and I didn't see any letdown.
"Hopefully we grew up a little tonight."