This season’s trip to Winston-Salem was one to forget for Florida State basketball.
The trip that came on this day 30 years ago however, was one for the ages. Sam Cassell played the role of hero for the Seminoles.
Cassell knocked down the winning 3-pointer in overtime as FSU rallied from 15 points down to top Wake Forest, 88-85.
Setting the Stage
FSU was 7-4 and unranked as it arrived at Lawrence Joel Coliseum on Jan. 11, 1992. In its first season as an ACC member, Florida State was coming off consecutive losses to Duke and Virginia and looking to even its conference record at 2-2.
Wake Forest was 8-2 and ranked No. 19. Fresh off a loss at Virginia, the Demon Deacons were looking to improve to 2-1 in conference play.
Cassell Leads FSU Comeback
Things could not have started much better for the home team. Wake Forest raced to a 25-10 lead. Thanks to a 4-for-4 half from deep and some key turnovers that led to easy FSU baskets, the lead was trimmed to three by halftime.
In the second half, neither team led by more than six. Rodney Rogers hit two free throws to push the Wake Forest lead to 80-77 with 2:45 to play, but the Seminoles kept the Demon Deacons scoreless for the remainder of regulation.
After a basket by Rodney Dobard cut the lead to one, Cassell went to the free throw line with less than 20 seconds left and a chance to give the Seminoles the lead. Cassell made the first foul shot, but missed the second. Following a turnover by Wake Forest, Charlie Ward’s winning attempt went awry and the contest went to overtime tied at 80.
A free throw by Wake Forest’s Chris King got the scoring started in overtime, but FSU responded with the next five points on a trey from Cassell and a basket by Doug Edwards. King however, answered with four straight points to knot the game, 85-85. From there, both teams would miss opportunities.
Cassell was able to get to the rim for FSU, but could not finish. On the other end, Wake’s Travis Banks missed a pair of free throws.
After missing an easy one, Cassell atoned. Using a screen from Edwards, Cassell popped out and buried a 3-pointer with just 27 seconds remaining. That would be Cassell’s sixth 3-pointer and the game’s final points as Cassell finished with a career-high 34 points.
Dobard added 17 points and nine rebounds in the win. Edwards finished with 14 points for the Seminoles while Ward filled up the box score with 12 points, eight steals and three assists.
King finished with 20 points to lead Wake Forest. Rogers, David Rasmussen and Derrick McQueen all added 18.
For FSU, the victory would begin a 6-game winning streak. The Seminoles finished 22-10 before falling to Indiana in the Sweet 16.
Wake Forest finished 17-12 in its second season under Dave Odom. The Demon Deacons fell to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
As for Cassell, he would tie the career-best 34 points as a senior, but never topped that mark. He needed all of them in the comeback win in Winston-Salem that took place on this day three decades ago.