For the first time in over three decades, Florida State is finishing the regular season on top.
With Saturday’s 80-62 win over Boston College, No. 8 Florida State captured the ACC regular season championship.
It’s the Seminoles’ first regular-season conference championship since 1989, back when they were in the Metro Conference. This is FSU’s first regular-season conference championship in 28 seasons as an ACC team, making FSU the 11th team in ACC history win it.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team,” Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton said.
“The media has coined this phrase that (the best historical teams) are blue-bloods… We’ve coined our own phrase. We’re new-bloods.
“For us, this is important because we get a notch on our belt. We have to enjoy this, but we think we’re getting started. We think that we can get better, we think we can continue on our upward climb with our own already-coined phrase. We’re not going to ever be a blue-blood, may not have been around 75, 80 years. The new-blood is here. That’s us. Seminoles.”
With Louisville’s loss at Virginia on Saturday, it’s an outright ACC championship for the Seminoles, who sit alone atop the ACC standings at 16-4.
“It’s very special when you can hold your finger up and say, ‘We’re number one,’ ” Hamilton said.
“I told (the players) back in September, ‘No one’s standing on a ladder and saying I’m number four, I’m number five.’ Only one team has a chance to stand up and say, ‘I’m number one.’ That takes a special effort and special focus. We truly can say that now, that we’re number one. I’m proud of that and happy for our players.”
The win – which came in front of a packed and heavily invested crowd of 11,500 fans at the Tucker Civic Center – helps the Seminoles finish the regular season with a 26-5 record. They won 16 ACC games this regular season, never having won more than 13 before this season.
It also sees FSU finish out its second undefeated season at home in the last four years. The Seminoles finish the season 16-0 at home and have won their last 23 home games.
“Cutting down the nets, it’s been a long time coming,” senior point guard Trent Forrest said.
“From where we started when I got here to now, being one of the top teams in the ACC, you think about the journey, you think about the process that you’ve been through to get here.”
Thankfully for the fans in attendance and watching across the country, it wasn’t a win the Seminoles had to sweat out. They led by six points just over two minutes into the game, double-digits nine minutes into the game, by 18 at halftime and never less than that after halftime.
The runaway win was a true team effort that accurately depicted how the Seminoles accomplished the unlikely feat. Nine Seminoles scored in the first half and no FSU player reached double-digits until minutes into the second half.
Before the walk-ons entered the game in the final minutes, all 12 FSU players that entered the game scored at least two points. In all, 15 Seminoles scored at least a point.
FSU’s three leading scorers this season combined for just 16 points.
“They have totally bought into who we are. They really, truly love each other and they’ve got great relationships. They do a lot of things together, they hold each other accountable, they call each other out,” Hamilton said of his team.
“They have a saying that we’re 18 strong and we win by committee. In this day and time, that’s unusual and that’s why I think they’re special.”
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