Jan. 3, 1998
FSU Defeats North Carolina State 68-55
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Steve Robinson's first impression of Terrell Baker was lukewarm at best.
Now, more than two months later, the first-year coach at No. 15 Florida State is calling the junior college transfer a warrior and his team's inspiration.
Baker rebounded from a poor outing to score 22 points as the Seminoles overcame a 12-point first-half deficit and shot a season-high 57.8 percent to defeat North Carolina State 68-55 Saturday.
"I had no idea what kind of player Terrell Baker was when I took the job," Robinson said. "Early on in practice I thought he was just OK. We didn't know exactly where we were going to play him on the floor.
"Then all of the sudden his will took over and his competitive nature," Robinson added about his shooting guard. "He's the most competitive kid we've got on the team."
The Seminoles (12-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the eighth time in nine games and beat the Wolfpack for the first time in five years in Reynolds Coliseum. Robinson's got his first ACC road win on his first try.
"I told them I should have been the one with my knees shaking out there at the start of the game because most of these guys have played in this arena," Robinson said of his ACC road debut in one of the league's toughest venues.
C.C. Harrison led the Wolfpack (9-3, 1-1) with 25 points, but was held to one shot over the first 13 minutes of the second half after scoring 15 points in the first 20 minutes.
"The key to the ACC is to get road wins, you already have an advantage at home," said a disappointed Harrison, who was 10-for-17 from the field but didn't get much help from his teammates. "We shouldn't be worried about getting home wins with the crowd that we have, the team that we have.
"We had our chances to get the job done today. We have to play 40 minutes, it's not a 25- or 30-minute game."
Baker, the junior college transfer who was coming off 1-for-11 shooting against DePaul in Florida State's last game, was 8-of-11 against N.C. State, including a crucial 3-pointer that gave the Seminoles a 60-51 lead with 2:50 left.
"There was no hesitation," Baker said of his key 3-pointer. "I just take what our team gives me. Basically, I was open and I knew I could drain it. I shot it with confidence and it went in."
Prior to Baker's long-range shot, the Seminoles had exploited the Wolfpack, normally a tough defensive team, with eight straight layups or slam dunks to pull away in what had been a close game.
"It wasn't anything that we just specially singled out to try to do," Robinson said when asked about his team's ability to get the ball inside for easy buckets and a 35-20 rebounding advantage. "We moved the basketball around. We're an unselfish team.
"Our big guys are playing well," Robinson added. "We're taking better shots and that leads to our guys being more confident and kicking it inside and not being afraid to have our big guys have a few more touches than early in the season."
Florida State, one of the weaker free throw shooting teams in the ACC, went 13-of-17 from the foul line, including 8-for-9 in the second half.
The Wolfpack bolted to a 13-2 lead as Harrison scored 11 of his team's first 17 points and the Seminoles had trouble holding onto the ball against N.C. State's sticky defense.
N.C. State's first-half lead reached 12 points and the turnover margin was 7-0 in favor of the Wolfpack before Florida State started to find the range, going on a 14-1 run to take the lead near the end of the half.
Harrison added two layups in the final 1:25 to cap his 15-point half.