The Daily Nole

45-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Beats Kentucky to Reach Only Final Four

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Florida State fans are hoping for a win over Xavier to clinch a first Sweet 16 appearance in six years, but on this day 45 years ago, something more significant happened…FSU advanced to its only Final Four.

On March 18, 1972, the Seminoles matched up with Kentucky in the Mideast Region final. Florida State came in 24-6 on the year to face a favored Kentucky team with much more basketball tradition. But on that day in Dayton, the Wildcats were no match for Hugh Durham’s Florida State team.

The NCAA Tournament at the time consisted of 24 teams — six in each region. In each region, the top two teams were granted a bye. FSU was not among them. Kentucky was.

After narrowly squeaking past Eastern Kentucky, FSU got to the regional final by defeating Minnesota, 70-56. In the regional final against the Wildcats, it was a Louisville native who gave Adolph Rupp’s team fits.

Ron King scored 22 points on the night to pace FSU as the Seminoles pulled away in the second half for a 73-54 win. Otto Petty chipped in with 13 points while Reggie Royals and Lawrence McCray each added 12 points in the win. Royals grabbed 12 rebounds and McCray had four blocks. Jim Andrews finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wildcats.

Florida State led 34-28 at the break, but by the midway point of the second half, it was clear that the Seminoles were the better team. For the latter part of the half, FSU enjoyed a double-digit lead before cruising to victory.

Though it hopes to change that this year, FSU hasn’t been back to the Final Four since that 1972 defeat of Kentucky. The Seminoles have been to the Elite Eight just once since then and that came in 1993. Coincidentally, it was Kentucky who ended the Seminoles’ Final Four hopes that time around.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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