INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (seminoles.com) — Redshirt junior RaiQuan Gray scored 17 points and led Florida State, the No. 4 seed in the East Region, to a 64-54 win over No. 13 seed UNC Greensboro in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The win was the Seminoles’ sixth consecutive win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament and propelled them into a Round of 32 game against No. 5 seeded Colorado in Monday, March 22.
Gray has now scored in double figures in a career-high 15 games and is averaging a career-high 12.2 points per game on the season.
The Seminoles began the game confidently, grabbing a 21-7 lead with 7:04 remaining to play. However, the UNCG closed out the first half with a 19-6 run, cutting the lead to 29-26 going into the locker room. Gray led the Seminoles with 10 points in the first half.
Coming out of the halftime break UNCG’s Keyshawn Langley launched a triple and tied the game at 29. Florida State responded with a 12-0 run and reclaimed a 41-29 lead at the first media timeout of the half.
The Seminoles maintained a lead through the second half, but the Spartans fought and worked to keep themselves in the game.
Gray then made back-to-back buckets and the Seminoles maintained a 55-50 lead going into the final media timeout.
The Seminoles finished the game on a 13-4 run to earn the win. Florida State made six of its final eight field goal attempts while limiting UNC Greensboro to just one for eight from the field to end the game.
Defensively, Florida State was stellar.
The Seminoles held UNCG to a .317 shooting percentage (19 of 60) and outscored UNCG in the paint by a 44-16 margin.
Sophomore Balsa Koprivica also scored in double figures with 13 points and led the team with nine rebounds. Koprivica, one of the top shooters in school history, was six of nine shooting against the Spartans (.667). With a team-high of two blocked shots today, the sophomore has blocked eight shots in the last three games for a 2.7 blocks per game average over that span.
Redshirt junior Anthony Polite joined the double figure scoring club, adding 12 points and shooting .625 from the field. Polite pulled down four rebounds, added two assists and earned one steal.
With six Seminoles pulling down four or more rebounds, Florida State outrebounded the Spartans by a 35-26 margin. Florida State blocked six shots while UNCG only had one blocked shot. The Seminoles have blocked at least four shots in 20 of their 23 games and lead the ACC in this category.
Senior Tanor Ngom added six points, a career-high tying four rebounds, and one block for the Seminoles. He was two for two from the line and has made 12 consecutive free throws since Florida State’s victory over North Carolina on January 16.
In his third NCAA Tournament appearance of his career, senior M.J. Walker led the team with six assists and two steals. The senior is looking to become 39th in school history for most career points scored, needing only 11 to do so.
UNC Greensboro’s Isaiah Miller led the team with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Langley added 16 points and was five of nine from beyond the arc (.556).
No. 4 seeded Florida State will take on No. 5 seeded Colorado in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
The game versus Colorado on Monday will be at 7:45 p.m. on TBS.