FSU averts a heartbreaker

The Seminoles erase the memory of two last-second losses last season to the Eagles.

By Jamey Givens, Times Correspondent
Published February 24, 2008

TALLAHASSEE - Ralph Mims stepped to the free-throw line with 35 seconds left and the Seminoles clinging to a two-point lead.

A season after Boston College beat Florida State twice with late shots, Mims made sure the Eagles wouldn't have a chance for a buzzer beater Saturday.

The senior calmly hit two free throws to extend the Seminoles' lead, and Florida State held off a late Boston College surge for a 66-63 win.

"I wasn't thinking about (last year) at all," Mims said. "I was just thinking about knocking down my free throws and getting a win."

Last season, Sean Marshall's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Eagles a three-point win in Boston and Tyrelle Blair's only field goal of the game boosted BC to a one-point win in Tallahassee.

"Those are the kinds of losses you kind of put back in you memory and try not to think about it," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said with a laugh.

FSU (16-12, 5-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 14 points in the second half, but as the Seminoles have a habit of doing, they made it interesting.

Boston College took advantage of consecutive Seminoles turnovers and climbed within two with 35 seconds left in the game. After Mims hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game, Uche Echefu stripped Tyrese Rice as the dynamic guard tried to drive to the basket. Toney Douglas added two free throws to seal the win.

"I'm pleased that we were able to come away with the victory," Hamilton said. "We hit our free throws and got stops down the stretch.

"It still gives us a mathematical chance to continue to keep playing and have something to shoot for."

Douglas scored 20 and made 4 of 5 free throws, and he also helped hold Rice to just three second-half points. Rice led BC with 17 but didn't have a field goal in the second half.

"That's a tremendous defensive effort on his part," Hamilton said.

A week ago it looked as if Florida State might struggle to finish above .500 and qualify for the NIT. But the Seminoles responded by putting together back-to-back ACC wins for the first time this season. Each game remains critical for ACC tournament seeding, starting with Wednesday's trip to Raleigh to play North Carolina State.

"They understand that," Hamilton said. "We have to take it one day at a time."

FSU 66

BC 63