Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

James scores 14 as Florida State upsets Notre Dame, 71-57

CHICAGO — There are times when a lower-seeded NCAA Tournament team needs a little magic to win the kind of game Florida State did here on Sunday night. A shot that just beats the final buzzer. A ball that bounces one way instead of the other.

The Seminoles, seeded 10th in the Southwest Region, needed no such magic. From start to finish during its 71-57 victory against No. 2 seed Notre Dame, FSU was the superior team. And now the Seminoles are headed to San Antonio, Texas, and to its first Sweet 16 since 1993.

Back then that run, which ended in the Elite Eight, wasn't so much of a surprise. This one is.

"Only in my wildest dreams," said guard Bernard James, who led FSU with 14 points despite being nauseated all morning. "I'm living my dream right now."

The Seminoles play 11th-seeded VCU on Friday in the region semifinal in the first 10 vs. 11 matchup in tournament history, according to STATS LLC.

And for the first time in the same NCAA Tournament, FSU and Florida are both in the Sweet 16.

FSU was supposed to be overmatched Sunday by one of the best shooting teams in the nation. It was supposed to wilt against the Fighting Irish and their five senior starters.

Instead, it was Notre Dame that appeared to be the more timid team — the more scared. FSU led by double digits throughout the second half and led at one point by 23 before Notre Dame went on an 11-0 run.

The Irish's burst was aided by a technical foul that came after Ben Hansbrough made a 3 from the top of the key. FSU guard Michael Snaer, who thought he had been fouled on the play, jumped off the floor and yelled in the direction of an official, who called him for the technical.

Notre Dame used it to cut its deficit to 12, but the Irish came no closer, falling to 0-8 against ACC teams in the NCAA Tournament.

The Seminoles shot 44.7 percent and held Notre Dame to 31 percent.

"I thought our guys were really focused, they stuck with the game plan, they executed, made the extra pass and moved the ball," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton told TBS. "We stuck to the plan by playing good, solid fundamental defense."

After leading by 11 at halftime, FSU stretched it to 17 four minutes into the second half. It did it with the same style that carried it through the first half: relentless defense that allowed Notre Dame few chances to score and with an offense that made the most of its chances.

FSU played perhaps its best half of the season during the first 20 minutes. The Seminoles shot just 40.7 percent but made 7 of 12 from behind the 3-point line.

While the Seminoles were putting on a shooting display from the perimeter that was as good as any this season, their defense was doing what it does best: making life miserable for an opposing offense.

Notre Dame went into the tournament boasting a 46.6 percent field-goal percentage, and it had converted nearly 40 percent of its 3-pointers.

But for most of the way the Irish appeared lost against the Seminoles' aggressive man-to-man.

On offense, FSU during the first half received the kind of breaks that sometimes a lower-seeded team needs to make a tournament run. Luke Loucks, a former Clearwater High standout, made a 3 that fell through the net after bouncing twice on the front of the rim. Freshman guard Ian Miller banked in a long 3-pointer from the left wing.

But overall, the Seminoles didn't need luck.

FSU 71

N. Dame 57

James scores 14 as Florida State upsets Notre Dame, 71-57 03/20/11 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2011 10:04am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.