BOSTON — Aaron Thomas scored 26, forward Clearwater High standout Okaro White 24 and Florida State pulled out a much-needed 74-70 win over Boston College on Tuesday night.
The Seminoles (18-11, 9-8 ACC) posted their third straight victory in their chase for an NCAA Tournament berth. ESPN's latest Bracketology had FSU among the first four teams out.
"Our last three games have been important," Thomas said, knowing the Seminoles need to keep building their resume for a postseason bid. "We know every game is important. We came out with our backs against the wall, hoping to get a 'W.' "
The Seminoles, known for their defense under coach Leonard Hamilton, pulled this one out by making big shots down the stretch. They were 76.5 percent from the floor (13 of 17) in the second half and 56.8 (25 of 44) in the game.
Olivier Hanlan led Boston College (8-22, 4-13) with 20 points but had a key turnover and missed a potential tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Patrick Heckmann added 13 points and Joe Rahon, who also missed a 3 in the final seconds, had 11 for the Eagles, who have lost 11 of their past 14.
White hit a turnaround in the lane for the 24th and final lead change of the night, pushing the Seminoles ahead 69-68 with 1:31 to play. After Heckmann lost control of a pass for a turnover, Devon Bookert hit the second of two free throws, making it 70-68 with 24 seconds left.
Following a BC timeout, Hanlan took his eye off an inbounds pass and it went out of bounds off his hip. But Bookert missed the second of two from the line.
BC had a shot to tie it in the closing seconds, but Rahon and Hanlan both front-rimmed 3s and Boris Bojanovsky sealed it with one free throw.
In a game filled with long possessions, Ryan Anderson's putback of Heckmann's missed 3 gave Boston College a 68-67 lead with just more than two minutes to play.
Thomas' shot-clock beating fallaway from the right baseline had pushed FSU ahead 67-66 with 21/2 minutes left after Hanlan's free throw snapped a tie.
The lead changed 12 times in the first 10 minutes of the second half before Rahon's two free throws tied it at 55 with 8:02 left. After an FSU miss, Hanlan had a driving one-handed bank shot, pushing BC back in front on the next possession.
Heckmann's 3 in front of BC's bench gave the Eagles a 60-55 lead, the largest of the game for either team. But the Seminoles went on a 7-2 run, tying it at 62 with 5:03 left.
The score was tied at 33 at halftime.