Leonard Hamilton and Pat Kennedy each brought success to Florida State basketball. The Seminoles however, first reached new heights in the early-1970s under Hugh Durham.
On this day 50 years ago, FSU put the nation on notice that it was for real. The Seminoles handled Minnesota in the Sweet 16, 70-56.
Setting the Stage
In just its second NCAA Tournament appearance ever, FSU was coming off its first win as it arrived in Dayton, Ohio on March 16, 1972. The Seminoles were 24-5 and coming off a hard-fought victory over Eastern Kentucky.
Minnesota was 17-6 and coming off a win over Memphis. Under head coach Bill Musselman, the Golden Gophers had earned their spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big Ten.
Minnesota started strong, racing to a 13-7 lead. By the end of the first half, FSU had swung momentum.
Ron Harris and Ron King spearheaded an 11-2 run to end the half as the Seminoles took a 35-29 lead to the locker room. For the early parts of the second half, Minnesota stayed within striking distance. By its middle parts, FSU began to assert its will.
After the Golden Gophers closed to with three, Rowland Garrett scored six points during a 10-3 FSU run as the Seminoles led by double digits for the first time with less than seven minutes to play. From there, the score was never closer than nine.
Garrett led FSU with 23 points on 11-for-19 shooting and 11 rebounds in the victory. King and Reggie Royals each added 11 points. Royals grabbed 11 rebounds in the win. Harris and Otis Cole each added 10 points in the win.
Minnesota was held to just 33% shooting from the floor in the loss. Clyde Turner led the Golden Gophers with 19 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat. Jim Brewer added 10 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for Minnesota.
FSU would go on to beat Kentucky and North Carolina to reach the national championship. The Seminoles would eventually fall to UCLA for the title.
It would be 21 years later before FSU once again made the Elite Eight. To this day, the Seminoles have done so just three times. Their first trip was clinched on this day a half-century ago.