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Florida State Seminoles win on road behind two seniors, two freshmen

RALEIGH, N.C. — Florida State parlayed the efforts of two reliable veterans and a pair of precocious rookies to a 78-65 victory over N.C. State on Tuesday night, the Seminoles' first victory in an Atlantic Coast Conference road opener in nine years.

Guard Toney Douglas produced 21 points and ample leadership, fellow senior Uche Echefu added 12 points and 11 rebounds and freshmen Solomon Alabi and Deividas Dulkys were key down the stretch as FSU (14-3, 1-1) erased a 63-59 deficit to outscore the Wolfpack 19-2 in the final six minutes.

"To get this win on the road, like we did, is big," said Douglas, whose defensive pressure helped to force 16 turnovers. "We're still learning each other, but this can be a special year."

All 10 FSU players who saw time scored, including 12 points from 7-foot-1 Alabi and nine by Dulkys. Those two were at the forefront late — Alabi hit consecutive jumpers in the lane to give FSU the lead for good, then Dulkys had two layups and two free throws for a 71-63 lead.

"This was a game of runs, and we had the last run," Echefu said. "Our freshmen … they don't play like freshmen."

The game was marked by spurts. The 'Noles looked lost and largely disinterested at the outset, falling behind 12-4 in the first 4:35 amid a series of turnovers and poor defensive rebounding.

Douglas led a 24-4 run in the next 10 minutes, one of FSU's best stretches this season.

"Toney was very verbal in his communications," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They outplayed us to start the game, and then he sort of got us going. It's good to have that type of leadership."

FSU's largest lead was 28-16 after two Echefu free throws just inside four minutes. N.C. State (9-5, 0-2) closed on a 16-7 run to pull within 35-32 at the break.

In the second half, neither team led by more than four until the deciding minutes.

"We kept our composure when the game was on the line," Douglas said. "We did the things that good teams do."

Hamilton said FSU made a conscious effort to get the ball inside.

"We only had six post touches against Duke on Saturday," he said. "We've seen most of the N.C. State games, and I haven't known them to double in the post very often. We thought we could get the ball down low to Solomon."

FSU returns home for a noon tipoff Saturday against Maryland.

"I still think this is a team in transition," Hamilton said, "but I think it's important to keep winning while we're developing."

FSU 78

N.C. State 65

Florida State Seminoles win on road behind two seniors, two freshmen 01/13/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 7:24am]
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