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FSU falls to Akron in first round of NIT

Chris McKnight shoots over FSU’s Ryan Reid during Akron’s first win over an ACC team. The Seminoles trailed most of the game.

Associated Press

Chris McKnight shoots over FSU’s Ryan Reid during Akron’s first win over an ACC team. The Seminoles trailed most of the game.

TALLAHASSEE — A disappointing season came to a disappointing end for Florida State on Tuesday night.

The Seminoles failed to match Akron's effort on both ends of the floor and were inconsistent on offense, resulting in a 65-60 overtime loss in the first round of the NIT.

In front of 2,830 fans, Nick Dials scored 13 of his 21 in overtime and Akron got its first victory over an ACC team.

"It's important that we perform when we get a chance to play against the big boys," said Keith Dambrot, in his fourth year as Akron's coach.

Dials, generously listed as 6 feet 1 in the media guide, missed a chance to win it in regulation, but more than made up for it in overtime. He hit three of his five 3-pointers in OT and gave Akron a four-point lead with just under two minutes to play. Nate Linhart made 1 of 2 free throws to extend the lead to five. Both times FSU pulled back within three, Dials calmly answered with a pair of free throws.

"Dials went on that spurt, and that kind of broke our back," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.

The Seminoles trailed for almost the entire game, but Akron turned it over and missed the front end of a one-and-one, leaving the door open for FSU. Toney Douglas' layup with 9.4 seconds left in regulation tied it for the first time since the 10:54 mark, and Dials missed a runner in the lane.

Florida State struggled to deal with Akron's ball pressure, and the Zips scored 26 off 23 turnovers. FSU had trouble establishing dribble penetration and often settled for contested jump shots.

Echefu and Ryan Reid combined to score 34, but they were the only Seminoles in double figures. Douglas, Jason Rich, and Mims combined for 23 points, going 0-for-9 on 3-pointers.

After scoring 55 in two ACC tournament games, Rich struggled in his last game. The senior guard had seven points and a career high 10 turnovers.

A sluggish start for the Seminoles turned into an early 20-5 deficit. After a 3-pointer gave the Zips a 23-15 lead, the Seminoles went on a 13-3 run and they took their first lead of the game on Jordan Demercy's 3-pointer from the top of the key. Chris McKnight's jumper at the other end gave Akron a 27-26 halftime lead.

Akron will travel to face Massachusetts in the second round.

"I've been off a little bit and I knew I was due at some point," said Dials, who had a total of 35 points in five previous games. "It worked out for us tonight."

Florida State had never lost a first-round game in NIT play previously, taking a 6-0 record into Tuesday's game.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

FSU falls to Akron in first round of NIT 03/18/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2008 11:31am]
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