tampabay.com

Douglas' second half lifts FSU past SMU

By D.C. REEVES
Published November 15, 2006


TALLAHASSEE - Florida State was ready for a day off, and thanks to pesky Southern Methodist, it didn't get there quickly.

SMU coach Matt Doherty found success in slowing the game down, using a patient offense and a zone defense to keep FSU's speedy four-guard sets at bay.

Even with the slower pace, Florida State was able to fend of SMU, its third game in as many nights, with a 59-52 win in the Colonial Classic finale Tuesday.

SMU's zone scheme meant less layups and more jump shots for Florida State in the first half; the Seminoles shot just 8-for-27 from the floor in the first 20 minutes. Seven of their eight field goals were from 3-point range.

"SMU did a very good job of testing those things that we obviously need to improve on," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Early in the season, going against this much zone defense was a challenge for us."

After taking a one-point edge at halftime, SMU (2-1) continued to find slow-paced success. Florida State trailed by as many as six midway through the second half.

"They like to play at 6,000 rpms, we wanted to make it a 2,000-rpm game," said Doherty, who was 5-1 against FSU in three years as coach at North Carolina from 2000-03. "And I think we did that. As a result, we had a chance to win."

Then point guard Toney Douglas scored seven points in two minutes as FSU got a 45-41 edge with 5:29 to go. Douglas hit a 3-pointer with 2:07 left and a pair of free throws with 38 seconds left to ice the win.

"When you've got a player like Toney Douglas, a player of his stature that can come in and pick us up," forward Al Thornton said after Douglas scored all 14 of his points in the second half. "He was known to do that at Auburn, and he's accustomed to making big plays all the time."

Douglas transferred from Auburn after the 2004-05 season and sat out last year per NCAA policy.

Despite a sore hip, Thornton scored nine of his 15 points in the second half. Douglas and Thornton combined to score 19 of FSU's last 26.

"I thought the second half, everything we told (the players) to do on the offensive end, I thought they executed very well," Hamilton said.

Hamilton turned the tide on SMU defensively, implementing a zone defense, something Hamilton has used sparingly throughout his coaching career.

The change produced positive results, as SMU scored just two points in a seven-minute span that took FSU from a three-point deficit to a four-point lead.