Florida State beats NC State 72-62
Bernard James added 14 points for the Seminoles (21-9, 11-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won three of five to close the regular season while top scorer and rebounder Chris Singleton sat out with a broken right foot. It marked only the third time in program history that Florida State has won 11 ACC games in a season and the first since winning 12 in 1993.
Freshman C.J. Leslie had 12 points to lead the Wolfpack (15-15, 5-11), who trailed most of the day and made a push to take a one-point lead with about 8 minutes left. But Kitchen scored a pair of baskets to put the Seminoles ahead for good, sealing a season sweep of N.C. State.
The question now is whether it was the final home game for Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe.
With the loss, N.C. State fell to the No. 10 seed in the ACC tournament in Greensboro.
The Seminoles were already locked into the No. 3 seed and are headed to the NCAAs with hopes that Singleton will return, so there wasn’t a lot at stake for them in this game.
Florida State led for the first 30 minutes, scoring the first seven points and leading by 13 in the first half before taking a 34-25 halftime lead.
Then, after the Wolfpack rallied into the lead, Kitchen and the Seminoles confidently answered right back.
First, Kitchen recovered a loose ball in the lane and scored a layup for the 56-55 lead with 6:50 left. He followed that by driving by two defenders for a layup.
Then, after Michael Snaer knocked down a jumper from around the foul line, Kitchen hit a jumper over Ryan Harrow to push the lead to 62-56 with 4:50 left.
N.C. State got no closer than four again, with the Seminoles stretching the lead back out in the final 2 minutes to send the home fans to the exits.
Now the focus will be on Lowe, who entered the game with an 86-76 overall record while going just 25-54 in ACC play. Worse, he hasn’t made the NCAA tournament after inheriting a program coming off five straight NCAA trips.
Lowe said Friday he wasn’t dwelling on his future, saying he wanted the focus to be on his players for this game. N.C. State athletics director Debbie Yow has said that she wouldn’t make any decisions on Lowe’s future until after the season is complete.