Florida State holds off FGCU to advance in NCAA Tournament

Brandon Goodwin #0 of the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles is unable to dunk the ball in the second half against the Florida State Seminoles

We'll always remember the 2016-17 Eagles for winning a game with only three players.

Florida (25-8) needed all those contributions, especially since Coach Mike White got so little from leading scorer KeVaughn Allen (North Little Rock) and SEC Sixth Man of the Year Canyon Barry.

Jarquez Smith has been waiting to make his NCAA Tournament debut for four years. Not this night. Not this team.

"My background is from Florida State, but this is where I am".

"Defensively, we've been able to defend really well because of our length and our strength and our size", Forbes said. "We had some good looks that rimmed in and out. We're long and athletic, and we dunk the ball, too".

"I know the difference between good and great". For the 26th time this season.

"I think it prepares us very well because the ACC is one of the toughest leagues in America, and we finished second in one of the toughest leagues in America, so I think we'll be ready", Smith said of the grind of playing in the ACC.

All of those higher seeds stumbled down the stretch and have enough flaws that professional and amateur bracketologists across the country have them on upset alert. "They're really fast. They've got great guards".

The Mountaineers (20-16), who edged New Orleans in a First Four matchup Tuesday, gave the defending champions all they could handle for 20 minutes.

"But we're the second-place team in the ACC". We've got your back. "And our theme tonight was pride and urgency". The roster features two surefire National Basketball Association players in Dwayne Bacon and projected lottery pick Jonathan Isaac.

Coach Leonard Hamilton seemed to take exception to a question about Gulf Coast having a "mystique" about them.

Well, yeah, that didn't happen. The Seminoles beat the team known as "Dunk City" at its own game most of the night.

As the tallest team in the tournament, the 'Noles are marked by their athleticism. "I thought at the beginning of the game everybody had that kind of nervous exhaustion, so to speak".

Expect this game to be a high-flying, high-scoring affair. After two or three possessions down the court it was like they were stepping in mud. "That's part of being on this stage". "Disappointing, but hopefully something that we can build on here going forward".

The Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles will be in the NCAA Tournament primetime spotlight Saturday as they push to reach the Sweet 16. It was more like the Seminoles vomited all over themselves. Florida is 3-3 without center John Egbunu, who tore a knee ligament last month, and has failed to find the best way to play without the 6-foot-11 junior. The 6-8 fifth-year senior had double-doubles in a victory over Vanderbilt and a loss to VCU.

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