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Dec. 29, 1997

Box Score

Free Throws Push Seminoles Over SW Louisiana 80-71

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Free throw accuracy in the closing minutes saved Florida State.

Terrell Baker had 23 points, and his teammates hit six foul shots in the final 1:23 to lead the 15th-ranked Seminoles to an 80-71 victory over Southwestern Louisiana on Monday night.

The Seminoles (10-2) led only 72-69 with 1:57 left after Southwestern's Casey Green hit three free throws, but Kerry Thompson and LaMarr Greer combined to hit six in a 38-second span as FSU held on.

"I give Florida State all the credit in the world," USL coach Jessie Evans said. "They stepped to the free throw line and knocked down their shots. I'm proud of the effort of our guys. We'll take a look at this game as a team and learn from it."

So will Florida State.

"We're happy to get a win and we're glad to be able to survive," said FSU coach Steve Robinson. "Coach Evans' kids played hard. They scrapped. I said if they play that hard all season long, they may win their conference or at least play for the league title."

Southwestern Louisiana (5-6), which came in with a three-game winning streak, but the Ragin' Cajuns shot only 32.4 percent, including 25 percent in the second half.

Southwestern Louisiana's leading scorer, guard Casey Green, shot just 1-for-17 - including 1-for-13 from 3-point range.

Baker also had a team-high 11 rebounds to lead FSU to a 49-32 advantage. Florida State also got 16 points from Randell Jackson and 13 points and 10 rebounds from Corey Louis.

Tyrone Foster had 19 points to lead three Cajuns in double figures, with Chris Manuel adding 11 and Brett Smith 10 along with eight rebounds.

"Yeah, it was a frustrating game," Foster said. "We made critical turnovers. They made turnovers, too, but we didn't capitalize on them. They deserved to win that game. We didn't do the little things right to win the game."

The Cajuns went in front 11-3 in the first three minutes by hitting five of their first seven shots, but Florida State rallied and built a 32-24 lead on Baker's follow inside.

Southwestern Louisiana responded with an 8-0 run that tied the game at 32-all with 7:18 left in the first half on Foster's third basket in a 90-second period. But Louis' put-back with 6:55 left in the half gave the Seminoles the lead for good and started an 8-0 run that helped build a 45-40 halftime lead.

The Seminoles stretched that margin to 61-48, their largest lead of the game, on Baker's alley-oop stuff with 12:51 left, but the Cajuns came back with seven straight points to cut the margin to 61-55 on Shannon Bennett's free throw. Jackson had a jumper and two free throws to build an eight-point margin, but Foster had two free throws and two baskets in a two-minute spurt to keep the Cajuns close.

Southwestern Louisiana, which shot only 22-of-68 from the field and 6-of-28 from 3-point range, stayed close by committing only six turnovers in the game and forcing 16 by the Seminoles.

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