Florida State knocks out Texas A&M, 57-50
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The suffocating defense that carried Florida State to the NCAA tournament squeezed Texas A&M right out of it.
Derwin Kitchen scored 15 points, and the 10th-seeded Seminoles won a tournament game for the first time in 13 years, knocking off the seventh-seeded Aggies 57-50 in the second round on Friday.
Bernard James added 10 points, keying a go-ahead run in the second half, and the Seminoles (22-10) advanced even though star Chris Singleton struggled in his return from a broken right foot, finishing with five points and four fouls.
The nation's leader in field-goal defense, they held Texas A&M (24-9) to 31.4-percent shooting on the way to their first NCAA win since they beat TCU in the first round in 1998. The Seminoles had dropped three straight NCAA games, losing to Wisconsin in overtime in 2009 and Gonzaga last season.
Now, they can start a different kind of streak.
If they beat Notre Dame on Sunday, they'll head to San Antonio for the next round in the Southwest Regional, with the Final Four in Houston.
Khris Middleton scored 16 for Texas A&M — 11 in the first half. Nathan Walkup added 11, David Loubeau scored 10, but a team that was hoping to two-step its way to tournament games in Texas can forget about that.
Florida State got going early in the second half, erasing a 31-23 deficit with a 13-0 run in which James scored eight straight. The 6-foot-10 junior converted a put-back after the Kitchen nailed a 3, then dunked off a nice feed from Ian Miller to pull the Seminoles within one.
He scored down low to give Florida State the lead after blocking Kourtney Roberson and scored again just over seven minutes into the half to make it 34-31.
Michael Snaer added a floater to make it a five-point game before Loubeau followed his own miss with a basket that broke about a 6½-minute drought for Texas A&M.
It was 42-40 after the Aggies' Nathan Walkup hit a 3 with about 7:10 left when Singleton nailed one of his own from the left corner.
Kitchen made it 48-40 when he drove by Naji Hibbert for a three-point play with 4:49 left, and the Seminoles remained in control the rest of the way.
The Seminoles' leading scorer and rebounder, Singleton checked in with 7:35 left in the first half after a 9-0 run by the Aggies.
A small contingent of FSU fans cheered when he replaced Okaro White after the freshman hit two free throws that momentarily put Florida State back on top 14-12. About 2½ minutes later, Singleton hit his first shot — a mid-range jumper.
Otherwise, it was a quiet start for the Seminoles star.
The jumper was his lone basket of the half and he quickly picked up three fouls in his first appearance since he was injured against Virginia on Feb. 12. He had surgery two days later, and the Seminoles split the six games in his absence leading up to the NCAA tournament.
The Aggies led 26-23 at the half after Middleton nailed a 3 from the left corner at the buzzer.