Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles in a No-Doubter; FSU Stops Its Five-Game Skid with Balance

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Noles in a No-Doubter; FSU Stops Its Five-Game Skid with Balance

Article excerpt

Byline: BOB THOMAS

TALLAHASSEE - After carrying Florida State's slumping basketball team, it was a wonder that Al Thornton had the energy to hoist his framed jersey in the air before Saturday's regular-season home finale against N.C. State.

Fortunately for Thornton and fellow senior Jerel Allen, heavy lifting wasn't needed.

With contributions coming from all corners, the Seminoles ended a five-game skid with a 78-52 rout of the Wolfpack in front of 7,685 fans at the Donald L. Tucker Center.

Thornton's two-handed dunk on the opening possession and Allen's 3-pointer on the next trip down the floor gave FSU (18-11, 6-9) a lead it never relinquished en route to its most lopsided Atlantic Coast Conference win in 12 seasons.

"It was a special day," said Thornton, who led all scorers with 17 points and shared the spotlight with Seminoles standout Bob Sura, whose replica No. 3 jersey was lifted to the rafters in a halftime ceremony.

Sura was still playing for FSU when it last enjoyed such a lopsided league victory, 107-79 over N.C. State on Jan. 15, 1995.

"What we saw today was just the more aggressive team, the more active team won the ballgame," Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said. "Right from the very beginning, when Thornton gets the basketball, drove it around us and dunked it, that set the tone right there."

With that, the Seminoles picked up on the game's theme: Leave it all on the floor.

That's the message Thornton and Allen shared with their teammates Friday night, in a final plea to try and salvage an NCAA Tournament berth.

"We wanted to tell the players how much they mean to us and that we really don't want to come back here [for an NIT game]," Allen said. "We want to make it to the Big Dance."

Added Thornton: "We pretty much poured our hearts out, and the guys came out today and did a great job responding. …

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