For a while, it looked like Dunk City was back to its old self.
The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles soared — throwing down dunks, knocking down clutch shots, and sending the Orlando crowd into a frenzy. But Florida State did just a little bit more, avoiding the upset with an 86-80 win Thursday night in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
First, the standard stuff: Dwayne Bacon led Florida State with 25 points and nine rebounds on 11-17 shooting. The Seminoles shot 56 percent from the field and out-rebounded Florida Gulf Coast 46-26. Brandon Goodwin had 28 to lead the Eagles and Zach Johnson added 17 more.
What else happened? Well, the Seminoles built a double digit lead in the second half and looked like they were ready to cruise to victory. But then a 12-point lead with just over two minutes left shrunk to five as Florida State started missing free throws — they missed 14 for the game. The Eagles could not capitalize enough, however, and Florida State escaped with a too-close-for-comfort victory.
Got it? Good. Now the fun stuff.
Big thanks to our friends at the Mothership for capturing some of the greatest moments from what was a truly bonkers game.
A failed dunk from Florida State, for example:
I believe I can fly / I believe I can — NOOOOOO pic.twitter.com/98XMs2LxNh— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 16, 2017
Followed up by...this...on the other end
At one point, Xavier Rathan-Mayes tried to save a loose ball and ran into a photographer. Thankfully, no one was injured, and more importantly, THE PHOTOG GOT THE SHOT! HE GOT THE SHOT! Just think about the dedication you need to your job to pull this off. You have a Division I athlete hurtling at you, with no regard for your safety whatsoever. Contact is inevitable. You know it’s coming. AND STILL YOU PERSEVERE.
Look at this thing of beauty. I hope it wins a Pulitzer:
The cameraperson got knocked down, but caught all of the action pic.twitter.com/N0ELS0BaAZ— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 17, 2017
Almost as beautiful as that photo is Demetris Morant’s free throw form. I call it the Squared Up Shot Put. It goes against EVERYTHING you were taught in fifth grade rec basketball, yet somehow Morant ended up making 64 percent of his free throw attempts this way.
And, finally, a little more Bacon. Send it in!
Good job, good effort, Florida Gulf Coast. We’ll always remember the 2016-17 Eagles for winning a game with only three players.