Tallahassee, Florida (PressExposure) February 28, 2009 -- Florida State did its best to kill Clemson's chances of having a second straight winning season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
It paid off. Florida, ranked 23rd in the Atlantic Coast Conference upset the Tigers, on February 28th.
"A week ago we were one game out of first (place)," Purnell said. "Now we're trying to do everything we can to get a bye."
But the win for the Seminoles wasn't for lack of trying on Clemson's part.
Trevor Booker, the top scorer for the Tigers remained scoreless until 11:50 left in the half, and then Florida held him to only 8 points in the game. Terrance Oglesby scored 12 points, K.C. Rivers recorded 17, although this was his lowest score in 9 games, snapping his three long streak for double doubles. Even the 5 points within 12 seconds of the game that Raymond Sykes scored wasn't enough to overcome the Seminoles, as Toney Douglas was there to answer with 6 straight free throws to seal the win.
Of course 23 turnovers in a game didn't help their chances either.
Clemson's dream for a win isn't completely annihilated.
Rivals.com reports, "We still have a shot of finishing first, but we have to take care of our business. When that happened yesterday, we talked to our team last night. We are in the stretch run, and they are sitting right there in front of us. We can see them plainly. But the bottom line is that you still have to take care of your business."-Coach Oliver Purnell, on Clemson's chances of winning the ACC regular season, referring to North Carolina's loss at Maryland.
The Seminoles broke away into a 14 point lead in the first half entering half time with 39 points to the Tigers 27.
The second half brought as much as a 17 point lead but Sykes was able to close within 63-60 with 3:30 on the clock. A blocked shot by Douglas and a turnover by K.C. Rivers sealed the score at 66-71. A foul by Demontez Stitts allowed Douglas to sink his last two free throws for the win.
Chris Singleton and Derwin Kitchen sank 10 points each for Florida, but it was Toney Douglas who led with 23 points.
"Florida State's Toney Douglas continues to put together all-ACC numbers. He had his third straight 20-plus game with 24 points in a 13-point win over Miami and then 22 in a two-point win at Virginia Tech. Douglas was 22-of-23 at the free throw line in the three games. Douglas' maturity as a true scoring playmaker since his transfer from Auburn has made the Seminoles a legitimate ACC contender."
The win brings the Florida State Seminoles one step closer to a NCAA tournament bid, the first in 11 years.
"It's satisfying, but it's not time for us to start taking any bows," Hamilton said. "... We've won nine conference games before, but for whatever reason the NCAA gods didn't feel like we were worthy of going to the tournament."