Led by Bookert, FSU tops Boston College 69-66
Saturday was a win and a step forward for Florida State's youth movement.
This time out it was freshman point guard Devon Bookert making big strides. In his second career start, Bookert dished out a career high 8 assists and had no turnovers for the young Seminoles in a 69-66 win over Boston College at the Donald L. Tucker Center.
The win moved FSU (14-11) to 6-6 in ACC play.
Bookert is one of three freshmen in a new starting lineup for the Seminoles that took the floor against Miami on Wednesday and the Eagles on Saturday. Bookert played a career high 31 minutes, scoring five points and fueling FSU's offense late with six of his assists coming in the second half.
"I always thought Devon was a true point guard of the team," FSU forward Okaro White said. "He's just showing what he showed all summer. I believe this is a big confidence booster for him and he stepped up and played (Saturday)."
Florida State saw multiple leads washed away by the pesky Eagles, but the Seminoles eventually built a seven point lead with 6:12 to play, then fended off one more Boston College (11-14, 3-9 ACC) rally. Trailing 69-66 with 5.2 seconds to play, BC star Ryan Anderson would get a look at a wide open, game-tying three-point attempt but it fell short as time expired.
"It was a good look," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "Ryan is not a great three point shooter, though. … To me, we executed, and with two minutes left I think we were down six or seven and we had a shot to win it. We played defense, we made foul shots, Overall, we did a good job of putting ourselves in that spot."
BC (11-14) fell to 3-9 in ACC play with six conference wins coming by five points or less.
Even with key contributions from Bookert and other players, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said he wasn't sitting easy down the stretch.
"I don't know what my stomach was looking like but I'm sure the acid was flowing," Hamilton joked.
Part of Hamilton's plan to insert Bookert into the starting lineup was because of a nagging knee injury Bookert suffered in the preseason. Prior to this week, Bookert would warm his knee up before the game, but while sitting on the bench his knee would stiffen up.
"By starting him, warming up and starting has been a little better for him because he doesn't tighten up and I think that's allowed him to play a little freer … I think starting has been good for him."
"It's a huge difference because I actually feel loose," Bookert said. "I actually feel normal almost."
Freshman Aaron Thomas gave the 'Noles six points in 18 minutes while Boris Bojanovsky, who left Wednesday's game with an apparent head injury, scored five points in 14 minutes.
Senior Michael Snaer also gave one of his best efforts of the year in conference play, scoring a game-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor. Okaro White added 13 points and 8 rebounds.