Thursday, December 14, 2017
Sports

Florida State comes from behind to beat St. Bonaventure 66-63 in NCAA Tournament

NASHVILLE — Florida State had trailed 14th-seeded St. Bonaventure from the opening tip, the newly crowned ACC champs falling behind by as many as 10 points and the Bonnies' faithful standing out in an emotional, vocal crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

Third seed FSU had trailed by six with 10 minutes to play and had rallied to tie, but its first two chances at its first lead had failed. Sophomore guard Ian Miller, who had opened the game 1-for-7 and missed a go-ahead shot a minute earlier, stepped up with a shot that put the Seminoles ahead for good, the centerpiece of a 16-2 run that let FSU escape with a 66-63 victory in the NCAA second round.

"That's what you live for," said Miller, who added a key assist a moment later on a Luke Loucks 3-pointer. "You're in the NCAA Tournament, you're in a big gym, and for me and my team, they know I can make big shots. They have confidence in me, and that helps me take shots like that."

FSU (25-9) advanced to face sixth seed Cincinnati on Sunday, getting a huge game from Bernard James with 19 points and nine rebounds, and a strong finish from Loucks and fellow Clearwater alumnus Okaro White, who combined for FSU's final 11 points.

"They came out fists swinging, and we didn't really hit back until maybe 10 minutes to go in the second half," said Loucks, who had 13 points and six assists. "So all the credit to them. We really, really had to fight to win that game."

St. Bonaventure (20-12), which made the NCAAs by winning the Atlantic-10 tournament as a No. 4 seed, got a huge game from forward Andrew Nicholson, who had 20 points and went 4-for-5 on 3-pointers. Much of the defensive responsibility of limiting the NBA prospect went to James.

"I just felt like I did what my team needed," James said. "I played as hard as I could and, you know, wasn't being selfish … Our guards were kind of struggling a little bit with shooting, so I really needed to step up."

FSU held off a furious rally late — twice in the final minute, St. Bonaventure's Demitrius Conger hit 3-pointers to cut into FSU's lead, which was 65-63 with 27 seconds left. Deividas Dulkys missed the front end of a 1-and-1, but White leaped and flipped the loose ball out to Loucks, who was fouled. He hit one free throw, and the Bonnies missed two shots in the final four seconds to seal FSU's win.

"We did what we needed to do. We came here to win the game, and we were very close," Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said. "It was a great college basketball game, great environment. Appreciate our fans coming out, they were terrific. Couldn't ask more."

FSU got more of a challenge than they might have expected, but the game was won with stout defense — in that 16-2 run, which gave FSU a 60-52 lead, the Bonnies went 1-for-10 with three turnovers in nearly eight minutes. That was key on a day when leading scorer Michael Snaer was scoreless for the first time in 98 career games with FSU.

"They gave us one of the best fights of our season," said Miller, who had eight points. "We came out a little flat, and St. Bonaventure, they executed on our non-energy. The second half, it was do or die, so we knew we had to turn it up on the defensive end."

Comments
Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

Are Tampa Bay Rays going to make a major deal involving Alex Colome, others? Well …

UPDATE, 4:02: It doesn't sound like the Rays and Cardinals will be making a deal today, Derrick Goold writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Cardinals execs "leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort with good feel for what Tampa Bay would be willin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Veteran Jonny Venters, prospect Joe McCarthy among 13 Tampa Bay Rays spring invitees

Inspiring veteran LHP Jonny Venters and intriguing prospect 1B/OF Joe McCarthy are among 13 players invited to major-league spring training camp with the Rays.Others coming as a result of signing minor-league contracts with invites are: RHP R.J. Alan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Updated: 29 minutes ago

Captain’s Corner: Drop in gulf water temperature means it’s sea trout time

The gulf temperature has dropped significantly since our first real cold front last week. One day the water was in the mid 70s, then after the front, it fell to the low 60s. That caused speckled sea trout to become a reliable target. Redfish have bee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF star Courtney Williams makes national team pool

Former USF women's basketball sensation Courtney Williams is one significant step closer to becoming an Olympian.Williams, who just completed her first full season with the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, is among 29 players who have been chosen for the 2017...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

Tampa Bay Rays lose RHP Burch Smith in Rule 5 draft, keep Nick Ciuffo

The Rays lost RHP Burch Smith in Thursday's Rule 5 draft but were happy to see him get an opportunity in Kansas City.They also were pleased to hang on to C Nick Ciuffo, who was left exposed but not selected.Smith, 27, was acquired from the Padres as ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 4

UPDATE, 11:09: RHP Steve Cishek, who was a very effective addition to the Rays pen last season, has reunited with pitching coach Jim Hickey, agreeing to a deal with the Cubs.UPDATE, 10:40: Like most teams, Rays officials are heading out of the meetin...
Updated: 2 hours ago