The Daily Nole

Xavier Dominates to End FSU’s Season

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Florida State’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2011 was not to be. Xavier’s sixth in 10 years was. The 11th-seeded Musketeers dominated No. 3 seed Florida State 91-66 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s West Region in Orlando on Saturday.

The last lead in the contest for FSU (26-9) was 5-4 early on. Xavier (23-13) answered with a 21-5 run to go up 25-10 and never really looked back. The Seminoles were able to get as close as four on an Xavier Rathan-Mayes layup with about four minutes to play in the first half, but three 3-pointers from the Musketeers allowed Xavier to take a double-digit lead to the break, 44-34.

3-point shooting wasn’t a strength for Xavier for most of the season, but it was on Saturday. Xavier made 11 of 17 with many behind well beyond the 3-point arc.

FSU on the other hand, was 4-for-21 from three and 7-for-38 for the tournament. As a team, Xavier shot nearly 56 percent from the field to FSU’s 40.

Trevon Bluiett was 3-for-5 from deep en route to finishing with a game-high 29 points. Kaiser Gates added 14 points for the Musketeers, Tyrique Jones finished with 13, Sean O’Mara had 11 and J.P. Macura chipped in with 10 points and five assists.

The Seminoles never got closer than nine in the second half. The teams traded baskets for most of the first seven minutes, but a 20-8 run by Xavier turned the contest into a laugher. Following the run, FSU could only get as close as 16.

In what some think may have been his final game as a Seminole, Dwayne Bacon led the team with 20 points on 9-for-18 shooting. Rathan-Mayes finished with 16 points and seven assists. P.J. Savoy added 10 points and three steals. Jonathan Isaac, in what was likely his last game at FSU, finished with eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The loss leaves FSU one win short of tying a school-record. Entering the game, FSU was 21-0 in the state of Florida this season. Xavier will move on to San Jose to face either No. 2 seed Arizona or seventh-seeded St. Mary’s in the round of 16.

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

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