Florida State bounced back from Wednesday's loss at Duke with a four-point victory at Boston College on Saturday afternoon. The 61-57 victory pushed FSU's record to 16-5, 4-3 in ACC, and marks the 'Noles' first ever victory at Boston College. Saturday's win also gives Leonard Hamilton's squad a second conference road victory, making FSU the only team in the conference to achieve that feat thus far.
"It was a grinder, like most ACC games are," Hamilton said. "It was a tremendous effort. We got the stops we had to get and hit the free throws we had to make to put us in position to win the game.
"We find a way to win," Hamilton added.
The Seminoles came away with the win in large part because of some big plays down the stretch. Boston College's Corey Raji made a lay-in that put the Eagles up 54-53 with 1:47 remaining. After Ryan Reid tied the game from the free throw line, the Seminoles got a key defensive stop.
On the very next possession, Derwin Kitchen made the Seminoles only 3-point attempt of the game to put the 'Noles up three with 44 seconds remaining. Kitchen's 3-pointer came via an assist from Michael Snaer.
"At first, I was driving and looking to penetrate but I saw that everybody basically came in and I saw my teammate out there," Snaer said. "I heard Derwin the whole time and he did a great job of relocating, I turned around and saw him, got him the ball, and he put it up."
Kitchen said that despite the team's woes from outside the three-point line, just 1-for-13 (7.7%) on the day, he felt that his final attempt was good when it left his fingers.
"I was wide open, so as soon as I caught it I knew I was going to shoot it," Kitchen said. "I knew if I missed it we had to go down to the other end and get a stop on defense. But luckily it went in."
The junior point guard followed up his long distance shot by hitting two free throws with 7.8 seconds remaining to put the game away for good. He finished with five points, all coming in the final minute.
"It was a must-win game," Kitchen said. "It always feels good to steal one on the road. We had just lost an ACC game, so we just wanted to come in here and steal one on the road. We did it."
Solomon Alabi led the Seminoles in scoring, contributing 16 points. A trio of Seminoles - Reid, Chris Singleton, and Michael Snaer - each scored 10 points. Singleton added a team-high 11 rebounds, in a game where the Seminoles held a 39-22 rebounding advantage.
Excluding 3-point attempts, the Seminoles were 24-for-41 (58.5%) from the floor in the victory. They were also 10-for-16 (62.5%) from the free throw line.
Once again, FSU had turnover woes giving it up 16 times, but only five times in the second half.
"It is always a learning experience, but if we can learn and win at the same time it is great," Snaer said. "We learned today. We got better, but we also got a win."
Boston College (12-10, 3-5 ACC) was led by Rakim Sanders who had 17 points. Joe Trapani chipped in 15 points in the loss.
Florida State, which entered the game leading the ACC in field goal defense, held Boston College to 24-for-55 (43.6 %) shooting - the 57th straight opponent to shoot below 50 percent.
Florida State returns home to host Maryland (14-5, 4-1 ACC) on Thursday. At this time, the Terrapins sit at the top of the ACC standings. Thursday night will provide FSU with a major opportunity to get a leg up in the difficult ACC race.
"It is a big two games coming up at home, we have to protect our home court," Kitchen said. "They are the No. 1 team in our conference, if we can beat them and Miami, and protect our home court, that would be huge to try to separate ourselves from everybody else."
Thursday's game will tip-off at 9 p.m.