SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - When he glanced at the field for the four-day Puerto-Rico Tip-Off, Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said he anticipated to get three tough ball games.
After coming up short in the semifinals in an overtime loss to Michigan, the Seminoles ended their stay in San Juan with probably the dramatic finish of the tournament.
Devon Bookert hit a 10-foot fade away jumper off a missed layup with 0.5 seconds to give Florida State a dramatic 62-60 win over Northeastern in the third place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday.
Northeastern's Scott Eatherton got off a desperation 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer, but it bounced harmlessly off the backboard.
"I thought for most of the game Northeastern outplayed us," Hamilton said. "We were very fortunate to win the game. At the end these are the kind of games you look back at the end of the season and say 'wow.'
"(Northeastern) is a tremendous team, they're gonna give a lot of teams a lot of problems."
Aaron Thomas had 16 points to lead Florida State, followed by Robert Gilchrist with 12.
The Seminoles (5-1) trailed the entire way before taking their first lead of the game with just under 14 minutes left in the game, then had to fight several final charges by the Huskies (2-4).
"It wasn't as much about what we did do or they didn't do," Hamilton said. "Whoever had the ball at the end was gonna have a chance to win it."
Eatherton finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, his third double-double of the tournament. Reggie Spencer and David Walker each added 13 points.
The Seminoles shot just 38 percent for the game and said that the presence of Eatherton in the middle forced them to go with smaller lineups to maximize their quickness. They had to sacrifice inside, though, where Eatherton had his way and nearly came up with the rebound that was snared by Bookert.
Despite the loss, Eatherton said he is encouraged by his team as it prepares for conference play.
"I think we realized how good we can actually be playing against this competition and being able to compete," Eatherton said. "If we have that effort, no matter who we compete against I think we can be a really good team."
Florida State took its first lead of the game until 13:43 on a basket by Robert Gilchrist that made it 41-39
But the Huskies kept attacking the Seminoles' pressure and got a dunk by Derrico Peck to nudge back in front 50-46 with 7:32 remaining.
The Seminoles came right back, and got a steal and layup by Montay Brandon, and then a driving layup by Ian Miller to go back ahead by a basket at 52-50.
It stretched out to 58-52, but Florida State soon lost Okaro White to his fifth foul at the 2:33 mark.
The Huskies took advantage and cut the lead to a basket on their next trip down the floor on another dunk by Peck. They then tied it at 58 in on a pair of free throws by Eatherton with just over a minute to play.
Florida State called timeout and took the shot clock down before getting Miller free for a short jumper. It rolled out, but Brandon was there for the tip to put the Seminoles back up.
Walker was fouled on the subsequent inbounds play and then tied it again with two free throws to set up Florida State's final possession.
Northeastern led 29-28 at the half in pretty even opening 20 minutes that featured a pair of ties.
Scoring was spread out on both sides, with Eatherton leading all scorers with 10 points.
The Huskies also held a 20-18 rebounding edge over the Seminoles. Both teams also shot nearly identical percentages from the field. Northeastern connected on 41 percent of its attempts, and Florida State 42 percent.
Northeastern did have to play a chunk of the half without Peck, who was forced to the bench with his third foul after just eight minutes of action.
"One of the things we wanted to do coming down to this tournament was find out about ourselves and compete. In that regard we consider this trip a success," Northeastern coach Bill Coen said. "We told our team if we could build on that, we can end up having a real special year."
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