Though Florida Gulf Coast pushed, Florida State pushed back and the 3rd seed Seminoles advanced to the second round with a 86-80 win over 11th seed Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday night in Orlando.
Florida Gulf Coast made it clear throughout the first half they weren't going anywhere. As Florida State tried to take control early, the Eagles went on a 12-0 run to take a 31-28 lead with 3:02 remaining in the first half. Dwayne Bacon scored the Noles' first points after the 5:25 drought en route to 16 first half points and the game went to halftime with the Seminoles holding on to a 40-36 lead.
Into the second half FGCU continued to push Florida State. Florida State built a double figure lead early in the half, but the Eagles had an answer. FGCU pulled within four before a 7-0 run for Florida State threated to blow the roof off in Orlando. Again, the Eagles would not go away, pulling within five points with 33 seconds to go before Florida State made the plays at the free throw line to secure the win.
Florida State was able to get the win in spite of hitting only two 3-pointers, including not getting their first until Jonathan Isaac hit one with under thirteen minutes to go in the second half. Dwayne Bacon finished with 25 points and nine rebounds in the win, while Jonathan Isaac had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Brandon Goodwin had 28 points and 7 assists to lead Florida Gulf Coast - Zach Johnson added 17 points in the losing cause.
The Seminoles advance to a second round matchup against Xavier on Saturday in Orlando. Xavier as an eleven seed earned the trip to the second round by upsetting six-seed Maryland 76-65 earlier in the day.