No. 11 Xavier Upsets No. 3 FSU 91-66 In Second Round

Ebony Scott
March 20, 2017

Although they come from separate conferences and separate parts of the country and haven't met on a basketball court in almost 60 years, Florida State and Xavier both feel they have a good idea of what to expect from the other when they meet in the NCAA tournament Round of 32 on Saturday.

"There's a different feel to the NCAA Tournament because there's a lot of feeling out from teams in the first quarter". They are making up for it now.

"They earned it", Xavier coach Chris Mack said from the post-game podium. The Musketeers lost six straight games between February and March, and many people wrote them off after point guard Edmond Sumner tore his ACL in January.

Even though the 26 wins are the most that Florida State has had in Hamilton's tenure, the finish is considered a bit of a disappointment since many considered this to be Hamilton's most talented team.

The Seminoles led 32-27 at the break, with senior guard Leticia Romero and Wright combining for 17 points.

Trevon Bluiett scored a game-high 29 points for the Musketeers (23-13), who will play Arizona next week at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. That gave the ball back to the Badgers, and Bronson Koenig hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to win the game. Xavier shot 55.6 percent from the field, assisted on 20 baskets and committed a manageable nine turnovers, allowing it to jump to a 10-point lead at halftime. Tyrique Jones also has four points for Xavier.

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The Seminoles (26-9) cut Xavier's lead to just four points thanks to a mini run fueled by Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Dwayne Bacon before Musketeers guard J.P. Macura drained a corner 3 to help Xavier outscore the Seminoles 14-8 down the stretch and take a 44-34 lead into halftime.

FSU junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes said that Xavier's physical, methodical style reminds him of IL, which the Seminoles beat in the NIT Tip-off back in November.

Our guys played loose and together. "If somebody is not stepping up, another person is". The Seminoles have the ability to dominate the paint with 7-foot-1 Michael Ojo and 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje.

The Musketeers (22-13) played far from a flawless game but have a player in Bluiett who will attack the Seminoles relentlessly as Eagles guard Brandon Goodwin did while scoring 28 points.

Now? The Musketeers still likely won't get to the Final Four, but they've put themselves in the Sweet 16 and look as risky as expected, even if shorthanded. Florida State averaged 82.1 points, which is the most in Hamilton's 15 seasons at the school, but they struggled late in the season from the perimeter and when forced to play more of a half-court style when teams played zone defense.

Now, with this Xavier team becoming one with an uncanny knack of performing in the clutch - the Musketeers are 5-1 in elimination games this month dating back to last week's Big East Tournament semifinal run - the end to the Musketeers' 2016-17 season not yet in sight.

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