Dec. 14, 1997
Seminoles Beat Gators in Final Second
ORLANDO, Fla. - Randell Jackson's layup with three-tenths of a second to play provided the winning points as 15th-ranked Florida State overcame an outside assault by Florida to record an 83-81 victory at the Milk Challenge in Orlando.
The Seminoles (7-1) had a final chance with 2.9 seconds left after Florida's Damen Maddox missed badly on a 10-foot jumper from the right baseline. After a timeout, Geoff Brower hurled a court-length pass to Jackson, who caught the ball on the right side, took one dribble along the baseline and scored off the glass as he was fouled by Maddox.
"The way the play was drawn, I had a split second to look at the clock," said Jackson. "My first reaction was to shoot it, but I thought, 'If I get there, I get there, I don't, I don't.' So I made the attempt, I went up with an aggressive move and I got the bucket."
"The first thing we did was put Geoff Brower in the game. Geoff, one day at practice, told me he was a big-time baseball player, so I said, 'Okay, we'll try it out sometime and this was the perfect opportunity to do that'," said Florida State coach Steve Robinson. "He threw a good baseball. We set a couple of screens, we basically had four or five options we could look at and chose one that was about six-foot-ten and a tremendous athlete. Throw the ball to the athlete, catch it and let him make the play. That's what Randell did."
He missed the free throw, and Florida could not grab the rebound.
"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," said Gators coach Billy Donovan. Basically, what happened was... Brent Wright is standing there watching the inbounder, again Randell Jackson takes off and go long. That's what happens when you play against an experienced basketball team. They are going to execute and beat you that way."
Jackson finished with 15 points while LaMarr Greer added 10, a career-high 11 rebounds and eight assists for Florida State, which withstood 11 three-pointers by the Gators. The Seminoles, who defeated Florida for the third straight year, still trail the all-time series, 31-18.
Greg Stolt overcame back spasms to score all 11 of his points in the second half for Florida (5-2), which has lost consecutive games after a 5-0 start. The Gators' two losses have been by a combined five points and the other defeat came at the hands of Texas.
The Seminoles, who had an eight-point halftime lead erased as Florida got hot from the outside, opened a 59-53 lead on a dunk by Jackson. But the Gators again attacked from beyond the arc as Jason Williams hit two three-pointers and Eddie Shannon added one of his own in an 11-2 burst that provided a 64-61 lead with 9:42 left.
Two free throws by Stolt gave Florida a 68-65 edge at the 7:11 mark before the Seminoles reeled off seven straight points, capped by a seven-foot hook shot from Corey Louis, for a 72-68 lead with 5:25 to go.
Florida still trailed by four until Williams and Stolt hit two free throws each to tie the game at 78-78 with 2:18 left. Jackson gave Florida State a one-point lead when he made the second of two free throws with less than two minutes to play.
The teams traded turnovers before Williams drove the lane and kicked the ball out to Brindley Wright, who buried a three-pointer from the left wing to give Florida an 81-79 lead with 52 seconds left. Jackson corraled an offensive rebound off a miss by Terrell Baker and sank two foul shots to tie the game with 34 seconds remaining.
Florida scored the first six points of the game, holding the Seminoles scoreless for four-plus minutes. But Florida State pulled even and used a 10-2 burst to take a 23-14 lead with 7:20 left. The Seminoles held a 39-31 lead at halftime.
The Seminoles, who scored 58 of their points in the paint, shot 44 percent (32-of-72) from the field and held a 38-29 rebounding advantage. Baker finished with 18 points and Kerry Thompson also had eight assists.
"We knew the type of style they run and they come and get you to take you out of your game," said Baker. "We just wanted to attack and play with poise under pressure. You have to keep your composure because it's definitely important."
Williams, who finished with 21 points, also committed 12 of the Gators' 25 turnovers. Florida shot 42 percent (25-of-59) but made 11-of-27 three-point shots.