Fouls add up, Fla. State goes down in OT, 81-78 Cheaney's 34 lead Indiana into final

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- One of these years, Florida State is going to meet Indiana at full strength. It didn't happen last year in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament, and it didn't happen last night in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT.

The seventh-ranked Seminoles, already depleted by the absence point guard Charlie Ward because of full-time football duties and shooting guard Chuckie Graham because of a season-ending knee injury, lost Sam Cassell and Doug Edwards to fouls in overtime before losing to the Hoosiers, 81-78.


After Cassell, who finished with a team-high 18 points, fouled out with two minutes to go, Florida State (2-1) still led, 73-72, on a baseline jumper by Bob Sura with 1:42 to go. But Calbert Cheaney, who would finish with 34 points, hit four straight free throws to put fourth-ranked Indiana (3-0) ahead for good. Edwards, who had 16, fouled out with 1:02 left in overtime.

The victory wasn't secured until Cheaney made the second of two free throws with two seconds to go and the Seminoles couldn't get off a shot before the buzzer. The win put the Hoosiers into tomorrow night's final against the winner of last night's second game at Madison Square Garden between UCLA and Seton Hall.


After trailing by as many as 13 points early in the first half and by 39-37 at halftime, Florida State started the second half with an 11-1 run to take a 48-40 lead.

The Seminoles, behind the play of senior guard Cassell and senior forward Edwards, stretched their lead to 56-44 on a lay-in by Edwards with 12:20 to go.

But the Hoosiers, true to their history, wouldn't go silently into the New York night. All-American forward Cheaney, who scored most of his 18 first-half points in the first 10 minutes, and reserve forward Pat Graham, who didn't score a point in the first half, brought Indiana back.

In a 20-6 run that was capped off by a beautiful reverse baseline scoop by Cheaney, no other Hoosiers scored. Graham's three-point play, on a feed by Cheaney, tied the score at 62 with 5:20 left. After Cassell missed a three-pointer for Florida State, Cheaney's basket gave Indiana the lead with 4:34 to go.

With the score tied at 65 following two free throws by Seminoles center Rodney Dobard, Chris Reynolds slipped free for a seemingly wide-open 10-foot jumper. But Dobard was there to tip the shot away. Suddenly, Florida State was starting to play the kind of defense coach Pat Kennedy had preached during the preseason.

Two free throws by Bob Sura with 1:57 to go returned the lead to the Seminoles, and Graham had a chance to tie the game with a pair of free throws 26 seconds later. He made only one. But Cassell missed a 17-footer and Graham got free. Cassell fouled Graham from behind, but the 6-foot-5 junior made the basket and the free throw with a minute to go for a 69-67 lead.

Trying to exchange the ball in close quarters, a handoff from Dobard to Cassell was knocked off the Florida State's guard knee and out of bounds with 44.7 seconds to go. But the Seminoles triple-teamed Graham into a turnover with 22.5 seconds to go, and Florida State called timeout.

With Cassell calling for the ball outside, and Edwards parked inside, Sura went to his big man. The 6-9 senior forward dribbled twice and turned around from 10 feet along the baseline. The ball rattled around before falling in with 6.1 seconds to go, tying the game at 69 and ultimately sending it into overtime after Greg Graham's off-balanced 50-foot shot banked off the backboard.


Early in the first half, it seemed as if last night's game for Florida State was going to be a replay of the past two years against Indiana. The Hoosiers went on a 14-0 run to take a 22-7 lead.

During that stretch, the Seminoles didn't look like the seventh-best team in the country. They didn't even look like the seventh-best team in the ACC, missing eight straight shots and four straight free throws.

While Cheaney was destroying Florida State on one end with an array of long-range jumpers and short-range dunks -- he would finish the half with 17 points -- the Seminoles guards were doing nothing to help their team's cause.

After making a couple of early shots, Cassell started forcing things from the outside. And sophomore Sura, who might have been the hottest player in this year's Preseason NIT, cooled off considerably from the first two games.

Kennedy tried a number of combinations before going back to his starting lineup, and the Seminoles responded with a 30-15 streak of their own to tie the game at 37-37. Sura scored the last seven points. Todd Leary's two free throws gave Indiana a 39-37 halftime lead.