Florida State rally falls short, MI advances to Final Four

Even if MI hit both free throws, Florida State could have scored 6 points in 10 seconds to force overtime.

Xavier Sneed had a team-high 16 points for the Wildcats, who end the season 25-12.

The West Region final might be going down to the wire.

The Florida State Seminoles couldn't overcome a poor start to the second half as the Michigan Wolverines punched their ticket to the Final Four in a 58-54 win on Saturday in Los Angeles.

But the Seminoles pressure defense turned up the heat helping Forida State score 6 straight points trimming the MI lead to 40-36 with 10:00 remaining.

After the game, CBS sideline reporter Dana Jacobson asked Hamilton a perfectly legitimate question: "In the final seconds of this game, why didn't you guys foul?"

■ Loyola's taken the nation by storm with its run to the Final Four, but this isn't the school's first dance in the spotlight. The Seminoles would not score again in the half.

Florida State's bench was largely responsible for the mini-comeback in the second half.

"I thought they did a great job and a great game plan that forced us to 14 turnovers in the first half", Hamilton said. Robinson grabbed the rebound and the Seminoles opted not to foul the strong MI shooter.

The lead eventually flipped to Florida State on a 5-point possession, consisting of a 3-pointer by P.J. Savoy and two Braian Angola free throws that resulted from a flagrant foul.

Though Florida State may not have enjoyed the same level of fan support, that did nothing to deter the Seminoles from making an impact on the proceedings. Florida State rallied to within 2 points but misfired on a 3-pointer that would have tied it.

The "Junkyard Defense" of Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton began to have its way with a series of blocks, three by Ike Obiagu, a 7-foot freshman from Nigeria, and steals.

He received a $200,000 bonus when the Seminoles made the 68-team field and an additional $50,000 for consecutive appearances.

Savoy's final three missed with 13 seconds left and that was it.

BC-BKC-NCAA-Florida State-Unselfish Spirit, 653 Hamilton fosters Florida State's unselfish spirit in NCAAsAP Photo LAS103, LAS106, LAS165, LAS104, LAS186Eds: With AP Photos. It might be tougher in the national championship game, but the Wolverines have taken every type of blow imaginable and responded in the proper way.

The Wolverines will now move on to face the No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers in the Final Four.

Extending its winning streak to 14 games, Loyola enjoyed strong shooting against a Kansas State team which relied on strong defense in the NCAA Tournament. They held Florida State to just 32.0% from the field and 23.5% from three. Richardson made six of seven 3-pointers.

  • Rosalie Stanley