Post-game Coverage by Bill from Tampa
“Man, it felt great,” said Al Thornton (17 points), who remains in the running for player of the year honors in the Atlantic Coast Conference despite the Seminoles' recent struggles. “I know that's the type of team we are... The type of team we are capable of being. When we play together, man, we can easily get wins. We can win by that margin.
"It was special, being my last time playing here," said
Thornton, who, along with Allen, walked along the student section courtside and slapped hands with fans at the end of the game. "I've been through a lot of ups and downs here. I'm matured a lot. I'm going to miss it."
"When we play together, we can easily get wins," Thornton said. "We can win by that margin when we're all on the same page and we're all playing together. When I have to go out and try to get 30, 35 and 20 rebounds, I don't think we're efficient. We won't win as much. When we're on the same page, the sky's the limit. We can get on a run that way."
"We have to pretty much play every game like it's our last, "
said Thornton, who finished with 17 points. "Play the game with passion."
"We understand what Al has done for the whole team; we know he carried us on his back for the whole season,'' guard Jerel Allen said. "We just wanted to play as a team, because we understand Al Thornton is going to make big shots, and we just wanted the team to get in a whole unity, a rhythm together."
On the team meeting on Friday, "We just 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. They almost made us a promise, basically."
"We looked at the positive things and the negative things, and how we are going to get back on the same page," sophomore Uche Echefu said of the meeting.
"Al has raised his game up tremendously, and he's been scoring an awful lot of points, but I've said from the beginning of the year, if we are going to be successful, we are going to have to have the full sum of all our parts working," said Hamilton, whose team finishes the regular season next Saturday at Miami.
"I thought the offense today gave everybody the opportunity to be involved."
“We just wanted the team to get into a rhythm, have unity,” Allen said. “Whenever we do that, we play good. Whenever we just look to 'Al, Al, Al' we lose our rhythm. We talked about it. We want to play together.”
Added Thornton: "We pretty much poured our hearts out, and the guys came out today and did a great job responding."
"We created opportunities for each other. In the past, sometimes we've gotten rushed, and we have tried to create for the individual and not create for a teammate," Hamilton said.
"We're a good offensive team," Hamilton said. "But we haven't given ourselves a chance (recently) by not making the extra pass."
"We did a lot of talking this week," coach Leonard Hamilton said. "We did a lot of soul searching. Everyone had to give whatever they had at this point. Our backs are against the wall. I just think we realized we had to be at our very best. Everyone had to give whatever they had at this point because our backs are against the wall. We can't afford any more slip-ups."
“We were going to be evaluated at the end of this game by how did we respond when we were dealing with some adversity,” said Hamilton. “I think they responded in a very positive way.”
On the NCAA tournament, "I've never been, I never went to a game [as a fan], I didn’t watch it last year, I couldn’t watch it," Thornton said of the Tournament and how much an invitation would mean to him.
FSU's all-time leading scorer, Bob Sura, returned to have his number retired at halftime. After watching Thornton play live
for the first time, he said the ACC Player of the Year candidate reminded him of himself. "Wow,'' Thornton responded, "he said that for real?''
"What we saw today was just the more aggressive team, the more active team, won the ballgame," Lowe said. "Right from the very beginning, the first play when Thornton gets the basketball and drove around us and dunked it, that set the tone right there. If you watched us, they just seemed like they were a step ahead."
On Thornton's last basket of the game (a three-pointer), "The look I had on my face is because I was surprised that he did it so easily," said Lowe. "We talked about it the last couple of days. We worked on it."
"They brought it," N.C. State's Gavin Grant said. "They outworked us. They're a desperate team and they did what they had to do."
"Just mentally a lot of breakdowns," Pack coach Sidney Lowe said afterwards. "On both offense and defense."