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December 20, 2009

Reid proves to be the hero in victory

ATLANTA, GA -- Ryan Reid is considered the "unsung hero" of Florida State's basketball team, according to head coach Leonard Hamilton.

On Sunday night, in the Seminoles' Atlantic Coast Conference season-opener at No. 22 Georgia Tech, the senior forward showed why that title fits. Reid, who scored a career-high 17 points, was the hero of a 66-59 overtime victory for the Seminoles.

Reid scored on Florida State's first two possessions of overtime before Chris Singleton banked in a one-handed runner to make it 61-59 and put the Seminoles ahead to stay with 1:05 left on the clock.

After the game, an exhausted Reid talked about his career night.

"I just went out there and laid it on the line like Coach has been talking about," Reid said. "Basically, just going out there and trying to get every loose ball, just keep hustling, and don't ever give up.

"Tonight, shots just fell for me," Reid added. "I just followed Coach (Stan) Jones' gameplan."

While the Seminoles struggled from the field, shooting just 24-for-60 (40 percent) on the evening, they once again turned in an impressive defensive effort. The Yellow Jackets, who had shot better than 40 percent in each of their first eight games this season, were held to 23-for-70 (32.9 percent) on Sunday.

"I thought the kids gave a tremendous effort tonight and I thought it was a direct reflection to the amount of respect we have for Georgia Tech," Hamilton said. "They have very good shooters, and we had little room for error, so I thought our players did well focusing and executing. Neither one of us shot the ball very well, but both teams are very good defensive teams and I thought the effort was tremendous."

Most importantly, Tech post prospects Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal - both considered NBA first-round talent - were limited to just a combined 12 points on the evening. Reid had a direct hand in slowing down the Yellow Jackets' interior game.

"Tonight we realized that we had to rebound well in order to be in this game, and Reid had to defend who I think is a lottery pick in Gani Lawal," Hamilton said. "We did a good job of defending him. We all know Gani is an outstanding player, and a couple shots just didn't fall for him and we were able to get enough guys around him."

While it seemed like there was a special effort on stymieing the Jackets' post players, Reid said it came down to executing their basic principles.

"Basically our defensive principles that we do for every team," Reid said. "It was basically just hustling and getting into our spots and just doing what the coaches said."

The Seminoles (10-2, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth straight game and stopped a seven-game win streak for Georgia Tech (8-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). FSU, which is 1-0 in the ACC for only the third time in the Hamilton era, won't play another ACC game until the second week in January.

"It is a ranked team, on the road, it means a lot for us," sophomore guard Deividas Dulkys said. "Now we have to take care of business at home before the other ACC games."

The Seminoles got 12 points from Dulkys and 10 points from Singleton in the win. Solomon Alabi also contributed nine points and 12 rebounds in the win.

For the Yellow Jackets, forward Zachery Peacock scored 17 points. Guard Mfon Udofia added 12 points as Georgia Tech lost its fourth straight ACC opener.

Florida State led 27-22 at the half despite shooting 8-for-33 (24.2 percent) from the field, and 3-for-13 (23.1 percent) from the perimeter, in the opening 20 minutes.

After building a lead of eight points with 6:30 remaining in the game, Florida State allowed the Yellow Jackets to creep back into the game. The game was eventually forced to overtime, all tied at 54, as Florida State failed to score in the final 2:08, surrendering a five-point lead over that span.

Two pivotal possessions were costly for the Seminoles in the final minute of regulation. With 44 seconds remaining, center Solomon Alabi missed two free throws. On the next possession, Tech's Peacock tied the game with a jumper. Florida State had the ball with 29 seconds remaining, but failed to get off a shot on the final possession as Derwin Kitchen was called for a travel with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock.

"I was hesitant," Kitchen said. "I knew Lawal was going to come out and the play was just for me to try and create but I pulled it out, hesitated, playing with the ball and passed it too late."

While the Seminoles could have folded in overtime, they instead outscored Paul Hewitt's club 12-5 in the final five minutes.

"We knew it was our game, we kind of let it slip up at the end," Kitchen said. "We had the game and we let it slip away, missing free throws and giving them easy offensive rebounds and put-backs. To come back in overtime, for everybody to come back and stay with it and get that W (win) on the road, it means a lot for this team."

"Good teams always come back, and they were a really good team," Dulkys added. "We knew we were going to have to fight. It was a dogfight, and we were there."

Florida State will return to action on Tuesday when the Seminoles host Hamilton's alma mater, Tennessee-Martin, at 7 p.m.


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