College Basketball: Florida State 72, Wake Forest 66
By Brent Kallestad
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Al Thornton had his usual dominant game Saturday, but in the end it was teammate Toney Douglas who finished off Wake Forest.
Thornton turned in his third double double of the season with 25 points and 11 rebounds, but it was Douglas’ 10 straight points late in the second half that propelled the Seminoles to a 74-66 victory.
“I know when I have to step it up,” Douglas said. “Al can’t do it all. I know my team is going to need me to score.”
A 6-1 sophomore transfer from Auburn, Douglas’ 3-pointer with 5:18 left gave Florida State a 57-56 lead. After a mid-range jumper and two free throws, he made another 3 for a 64-59 lead with 2:56 left.
Although he sat out last season, Douglas is Florida State’s second leading scorer at 13.5 points a game. He finished with 15 Saturday, 12 coming in the second half.
“The best is yet to come,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He’s just scratched the surface.”
Florida State (15-6, 3-4) also got 11 points from Isaiah Swann, who came off the bench for the first time this season.
The difference was at the free throw line where Florida State made 22 of 30 while Wake Forest was just 6 of 12. Thornton, the ACC’s leading scorer in conference play, was 11 of 13.
“Thornton reminds me of Josh Howard,” Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said about a former ACC Player of the Year. “Josh Howard was a guy with a collection of young players who sort of willed Wake to an ACC championship. He had a courage that was contagious.”
Kyle Visser finished with 17 points to lead Wake Forest which also got 13 from L.D. Williams, one of its three freshmen starters. Another first year player, Ishmael Smith, had nine assists — two more than the Florida State team.
Florida State, which trailed by as many as eight early in the first half, caught up at 30-30 on Thornton’s slam with an offensive rebound.
Wake Forest (9-11, 1-7) got a putback from the 6-11 Visser seconds later for a 32-30 lead at halftime.
Their final lead came at 59-57 when Williams countered Douglas’ 3 with one of his own.
“It was nice to be coaching at the end of the game,” Prosser said after the Demon Deacons sixth straight loss.
Hamilton said he wasn’t surprised by Wake Forest’s spirited showing.
“Not in this league,” Hamilton said. “It doesn’t matter (who it is). If you’re not concerned you’ll get your butt kicked.”
It was almost a must-win for Florida State, which has already lost one ACC game at home and is again scrambling to qualify for a postseason NCAA bid.
The Seminoles had lost an 85-82 heartbreaker Tuesday at Boston College on Sean Marshall’s last-second, 3-point shot. It was the second time in three weeks FSU lost a conference game on a basket that just beat the final horn.