GAME NOTES: Coming off their first loss of the season, the Florida State Seminoles get right back to work, as they take on the Northeastern Huskies in the third-place game in the Puerto Rico Tip Off.
Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles have gotten off to a fast 4-1 start this season and that includes Friday's showdown with the 14th-ranked Michigan Wolverines. FSU allowed a late lead to slip away and lost in overtime to Michigan (82-80) in the semifinals, one night after completely destroying another ranked opponent, 10th-ranked VCU (85-67).
Northeastern's tournament began with a surprising 63-56 upset of the Georgetown Hoyas. With the win, the Huskies got back to .500 on the season. However, the team was unable to carry over its winning ways into Friday's showdown with the Charlotte 49ers, falling 86-77 and dropping to 2-3 on the year.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
For the second straight day, Northeastern fought back from a double-digit deficit, but unlike the game against the Hoyas, this time, the Huskies were unable to earn a victory, falling by nine points to Charlotte in the semifinals. Scott Eatherton was once again a force in the low post, recording another double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Reggie Spencer completed the feat as well (11 points, 12 rebounds), while Demetrius Pollard and T.J. Williams added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Eatherton has been a constant for Northeastern. The 6-foot-8 junior is shooting just over 60 percent from the field, has recorded four double-doubles this season and leads the team in both scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg). Spencer (11.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is next in line in both categories. David Walker (10.8 ppg) rounds out the top scoring threats and is the team's top distributor (3.0 apg).
Known for their defensive tenacity the last few seasons, the Seminoles have added explosive scoring ability in the early stages of the 2013-14 season. FSU comes into this contest averaging as hefty 85.0 ppg and is doing so on an impressive 53.4 percent shooting. Ian Miller hasn't started a single game this year, but still paces the team in scoring at 17.0 ppg. Okaro White is the top playmaker in the frontcourt at 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Devon Bookert (14.2 ppg) and Montay Brandon (11.4 ppg) provide further scoring depth.
The Seminoles were eyeing up another thrilling victory in the second half on Friday, but allowed a 12-point lead with just under 13 minutes left evaporate and then fell in the extra session to the Wolverines. FSU lost for the first time this season, despite shooting 52.5 percent from the floor. Miller led the team in scoring with 19 points. White recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Brandon and Boris Bojanovsky chipped in with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Huskies certainly proved themselves in San Juan, but Florida State is at a different level and the Seminoles aren't going to let the Michigan loss to fester.
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