- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 8, 2007

Good luck to the rest of the ACC to top the opener of the conference tournament here in Tampa, Fla.

It was, of course, the Great Al Thornton Show as Florida State edged Clemson 67-66 to advance to a quarterfinal meeting with North Carolina.

Thornton thrived late in both halves, and made a free throw with 1.5 seconds left to all but eliminate Clemson from NCAA tournament contention and make the Seminoles look a lot more appealing.

“I missed the first one. I was kind of nervous because I’d never been in that situation before,” Thornton said. “I was able to relax and make the second one.”

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton laughed as Thornton made his remarks, knowing his own team’s NCAA fate hinged on at least getting a split. The Seminoles have impressive victories over Maryland, Florida and Virginia Tech at home and at Georgia Tech, and have won two straight since point guard Toney Douglas returned.

Hamilton, still stinging from last year’s NCAA snub, again referred to the postseason criteria as a “moving target.” A bracketologist, Leonard Hamilton is not.

Time for Maryland to tip off against Miami. More from Tampa later.

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