Thornton said FSU's locker room was quiet before the game. "I don't think we really needed a pep talk," Thornton said. "We were pretty much focused and ready to play." "I think the committee did enough pep-talking not letting us in," said Thornton, who made 11 of 17 shots from the field.
And to show its appreciation, the crowd responded accordingly to Thornton and its opinion of the ACC's player of the year vote: "Better than Dudley!"
"We are down that we didn't get into the NCAA Tournament," Thornton said. "But we are in the NIT, and we have got to make the best of it. I just tried to come out and get some things going."
"We were a lot more patient and stuck with our system," Coach Leonard Hamilton said. "Very few times did we force anything, and I remember very few bad shots. We made the extra pass and made offense for each other."
"It was tough yesterday thinking about the way things unfolded for us," said junior Jason Rich, who had 10 points and seven rebounds. "But at the same time, this is an opportunity that some teams don't have."
"They let me get to the rack kind of with ease," Thornton said. "I wasn't going to settle for jump shots in this game. I made my mind up before the game to try to get to the basket and try to get some easy buckets."
"Obviously, Thornton is a boatload. He's a very good player," Toledo Coach Stan Joplin said. "We thought if we could keep him under control, we would give ourselves a chance. After watching videos of his games in the ACC, we knew it was going to be a tough challenge."
"Nothing he (Thornton) does will surprise me," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "He seems to do whatever it takes (to) raise his game."
"They're long and they're athletic to say the least," Joplin said. "We don't run into many teams like that. Our guys hung in there as much as we possibly could."
"For Al to go out there and just turn it up, that helped us out," FSU junior guard Isaiah Swann said. "It was just fun out there tonight. It was so fun to get transition layups, dunks. That's the way it's got to be from here on out until our seniors are done. That's got to be our focal point - not letting our seniors down and showing the world that we belong [in the NCAA Tournament]."
On getting 26 points in the paint in the first half, "We had to get the ball in there and we had to finish," Reid said. "We had to get the ball in there and had to finish. That's what we did, and everything worked out perfectly. We had to just go out and win."
"I think once he (Thornton) gets to the next level, you're going to see his game even grow and grow," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.
"We're here so we might as well go ahead and win it," Reid said.
"We're in the tournament," Hamilton said he told the team. "Let's go out and show what we're about as individuals, that we can bounce back from adversity and play very good basketball."
"If we're going to get through this tournament, we're going to have to have (Reid) and Uche," Hamilton said.
"Ever since we left Tampa, (the coaches) challenged us every day," junior Isaiah Swann said. "Even after Selection Sunday they challenged us. We didn't want to let them down, we didn't want to let our fans down and we didn't want to let our seniors down."
"I'm still thinking about it," Thornton said, still stung by the Seminoles being left out of the Big Dance. "This morning, I woke up and I had to play in this game. I had to play my best and give it my all. There's only two champions, and we're going to try and win as many as we can and get to New York."
Next up for the Noles — Michigan. FSU entertains the Wolverines in the second round of the NIT Thursday at 7pm.