Sports Journalism Blog

By Caleb Lynn | @CalebLynn1

Sports Capital Journalism Program

INDIANAPOLIS—-The Florida State Seminoles, the No. 4-seed in the East Region, came into the NCAA tournament known for their length and an ability to score in bunches. No. 13-seeded UNC Greensboro was known for its athleticism, including the play of Isaiah Miller, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and Player of the Year in the Southern Conference.

The Seminoles hit their last six of eight shots to beat the Spartans 64-54 and move into the round of 32.

Florida State (17-6) made use of its four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Seminoles were able to overcome 0-for-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line by shooting 52.1% overall.

Miller led the Spartans with 17 points but was limited to 7-of-18 shooting. He added five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot.

RaiQuan Gray, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound junior forward, led Florida State with 17 points. He has the ability to possess guard skills while being able to battle in the paint. In his previous NCAA tournament game, Gray was held scoreless against Gonzaga in the 2018 regional semifinal.

“I am an older guy,” Gray said. “I think my maturity is a huge thing, going back to two years ago. I think I was kind of anxious back then, excited to play as a redshirt freshman.”

Balsa Koprivica, a 7-foot-1 center from Serbia, made an impact just by making shots incredibly difficult and by outworking UNCG on the glass. Koprivica scored 13 points, made 6 of 9 shots, and led Florida State with nine rebounds.

He dove hard to the rim on pick and rolls, which Florida State ran often at the end of the game. UNCG trailed by just three points, 53-50, with 4:44 to play. That was when Gray and Koprivica combined for three baskets that put Florida State up 57-50 with 2:05 to go.

Gray said that when Koprivica gets going, the Seminoles are at their best.

“It was huge,” Gray said. “We depend on him a lot… When he is going, we are a high-level team. He had a great performance and I think he is going to build off it.”

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton described a change in Koprivica’s approach.

“Balsa told me the other day, that he is going to play to exhaustion,” Hamilton said. “He seems to be more productive when he goes into exhaustion… I think his best basketball is ahead of him.”

Spartans head coach Wes Miller was sad that the Spartans (21-9) were not able to move on.

“The biggest thing I am proud of is no matter what happened, no matter how bad it looked at times or got away, our guys kept fighting,” Miller said. “That is the team we have been all year. That is why we are here, and if anything, I am really proud to be the head coach at UNCG. I am really proud to be head coach of these guys because of the way they carried themselves, not just tonight, but all year.”