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FSU slips past FGCU in 1st round of NCAA Tournament

Bacon led FSU with 25 points and 9 rebounds

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ORLANDO, Fla. – In their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012, Florida State returned in victorious fashion by beating Florida Gulf Coast 86-80 on Thursday Night.

It was a game that lived up to the billing of an up and down battle, between two of the most athletic teams in the field of 68. In fact the first field goal for both teams came via thunderous dunks. Michael Ojo got things started for Florida State and Demetris Morant of FGCU responded with a two handed jam over Ojo.

With four minutes to go in the first half, FGCU knocked down back-to-back three pointers to take a 31-28 lead. That’s when Dwayne Bacon decided to put FSU on his shoulders. After a pair of acrobatic finishes at the rim, Bacon hit another tough shot in the lane. He scored six points in the final 1:20 of the first half. Bacon led all scorers at half time with 16 points, as FSU led FGCU 40-36.

In the second half Florida State extended their zone defense to contest FGCU out to the three point line. On the night, FSU held FGCU to 8-of-27 (30%) from three-point range. When the Eagles tried to adjust and drive to the basket, they were forced to deal with the Seminoles length and size that resulted in nine blocks.

Every time it felt like Florida State was pulling away, the Eagles would respond with a mini run. In the end FGCU had no answer for Bacon. He showed why he’ll likely be a first round NBA draft pick this June, by scoring a team-high 25 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

On Saturday at 6:10 p.m., Florida State will face Xavier in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.