Three Key Takeaways.
- Survive and Advance. Florida State did not want to become the 15th team – and only the fourth since 2000 – to lose as a #3 seed in the round of 64. The Seminoles used an impressive second-half defensive effort – holding St. Bonaventure to 11-31 from the floor – and were able to hold off the upset-minded Bonnies. FSU allowed St. Bonaventure to shoot 46% in the first half, which led to a six-point deficit at the break. Florida State is known for its ferocious halfcourt defense, and that is what carried it through to the third round. The Seminoles were also able to neutralize St. Bonaventure star Andrew Nicholson, who got off to a hot start with 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game, but finished with only 20.
- Seminoles Win without Much from Snaer. The Seminoles’ leading scorer, Michael Snaer was held scoreless on the day for the first time in his career. Snaer, a second-team All-ACC performer, got into early foul trouble and played only five minutes in the first half. He was a non-factor in the second and took only seven shots, going 0-5 from three. Florida State Coach Leonard Hamilton has to be pleased that his team was able to overcome the odds considering such a poor performance from its best player to move on.
- A Perplexing Finish. After Florida State missed two of three free throws late, St. Bonaventure had a chance to tie with a late three. The Bonnies had the ball in the frontcourt with 20 seconds remaining but had no timeouts left. Florida State guarded the perimeter ferociously, leaving Da’Quan Cook with a two-point attempt with nine seconds left. After Cook rebounded his miss, rather than pass to a teammate for a three, he went back up with it and time expired. It was an inexplicable ending to a hard-fought game.
Star of the Game. Bernard James, Florida State. On this day, Florida State does not advance without the play of Bernard James. Given the off afternoons that the team’s two leading scorers, Ian Miller and Snaer had (eight combined points), James’ performance was a necessity. He ended up with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Quotable. “Give Florida State credit. They defended very well in the second half. But we did what we needed to do; we just came up short. It was a terrific college basketball game.” – St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt
Sights and Sounds. St. Bonaventure, which appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000, had a raucous and creative group of fans on hand in Nashville. Florida State’s smaller contingent got very loud themselves after the Seminoles clawed back and took the lead. The Tomahawk Chop was out in full force on Friday.
What’s Next? Third-seeded Florida State now looks to its matchup with sixth-seeded Cincinnati in what promises to be a defensive war. Don’t expect a lot of offense in Sunday’s game.