The Daily Nole

10-Year Nole Anniversary: FSU Rallies from 17 Points Down to Win Old Spice Classic

Ross Obley/FSU athletics

For college sports fans, basketball doesn’t tend to be at the forefront of the mind around Thanksgiving. One decade ago however, Florida State helped turned the weariness from leftover turkey into jubilation with a comeback against the Golden Eagles.

After wins over Iona and Alabama to start the 2009 Old Spice Classic on Walt Disney World property, the Seminoles got set to take on Marquette in the tournament’s championship game on Nov. 29, 2009. What looked like a Marquette rout early turned into a 57-56 thriller that went the way of Florida State.

Down 56-55 with less than 30 seconds to play, 7-foot-1 center Solomon Alabi hit a hook in the lane with 12 seconds remaining to put FSU ahead for good. Marquette had hit three straight shots entering its final possession, but never got one as an errant pass allowed the Seminoles to take the 4-day tournament championship.

The Seminoles managed just 18 points in the first half and trailed by a dozen at the break. Early on in the second half, things seemed to be getting worse as Lazar Hayward’s triple pushed the lead to 39-22 with less than 16 minutes to play in the contest.

FSU proceeded to go on a 26-9 run to knot the contest. Forward Chris Singleton scored 10 points for FSU during the run as the Seminoles drew even on a dunk from Jordan DeMercy following a Luke Loucks steal. From there, the teams would trade baskets.

Derwin Kitchen’s 3-pointer with less than 90 seconds to play gave FSU its first lead since the opening minute, but Maurice Acker answered just seconds later. Alabi’s short jumper put FSU up 55-54 with less than a minute to go, but the Golden Eagles weren’t done.

Hayward scored a game-high 21 points for Marquette with the last of them coming on a jumper with 32 seconds left that put his team back in front before Alabi played the role of hero. Singleton led FSU with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Kitchen added 14 points in the victory.

Hayward grabbed 10 rebounds for Marquette as he was one of two Golden Eagles to record a double-double. Jimmy Butler scored 10 points and brought down a game-high 11 rebounds. Darius Odom-Johnson chipped in with 17 points in the loss.

The Seminoles held Marquette to 39 percent shooting and enjoyed a 38-35 rebounding edge. They did turn the ball over 19 times and shoot 11 fewer free throws, going just 3-for-8.

Alabi had scored just four points before scoring the final four points for FSU, but he came through when it counted. His early-season tournament winner happened on this day one decade ago.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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