LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (NEWS10) – First high-major win in eight years. First win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team in 12 years. And it wasn’t even close. Siena Basketball never trailed and led by as many as 20 points in a convincing 80-63 Thanksgiving Day rout of perennial ACC power Florida State in the ESPN Events Invitational.
Siena (3-2) shot 52% from the field including 9-22 from three and dished out 19 assists in securing the program’s first win over a high-major opponent since a 54-52 victory over the Big Ten’s Penn State on Mar. 24, 2014 in the College Basketball Invitational in Albany. The Saints also posted their first triumph over an ACC squad since a 62-57 win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 22, 2010 in Albany.
North Carolina transfer Andrew Platek led Siena with a career-high 20 points on 7-9 shooting including 5-6 from three against his former ACC rival, while Fort Myers native Javian McCollum showed out in front of his more than two dozen family and friends in attendance with 18 points and a career-high eight assists.
The Saints struck first blood, scoring 11 unanswered points early to race out to a 16-5 lead they would not relinquish. Florida State (1-5) rallied back within as close as a pair at 22-20 midway through the first half, but Siena responded with the next nine points to push the lead back to double digits. The Saints then closed the half equally as strong as they had started it, scoring the final 10 points of the stanza to surge into the lockerroom with a commanding 17-point lead at 43-26.
The Seminoles scored the first eight points out of the gate to open the second half and pull back within nine, but never got any closer. Siena put their foot squarely on the gas pedal thereafter and never let off. The Saints answered with an 8-2 spurt and led by double digits the rest of the way, securing the program’s largest margin of victory over a high-major opponent in 14 years, dating back to a 21-point win over Vanderbilt (83-62) on Mar. 21, 2008 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament in nearby Tampa.
Florida State shot just 36% from the field including only 4-15 from three and committed 17 turnovers. Matthew Cleveland paced the Seminoles with 14 points, while Cam’Ron Fletcher added 13 points, six rebounds, and five steals.
Jackson Stormo rounded out Siena’s double figure scorers with 10 points in an all-around team win, which was highlighted by a pair of key freshman performances off the bench. Killian Gribben scored nine points, pulled down three rebounds, posted a highlight reel block, and tallied a plus/minus of +12 in 13 minutes, while Zek Tekin added five points and three assists.
Siena will look to keep its magic going when they take on yet another high-major opponent in SEC foe Ole Miss in the first semifinal Friday at 11 a.m. on ESPN2. The Rebels defeated Stanford 72-68 in quarterfinal action Thursday afternoon. Friday will mark the first-ever meeting between Siena and Ole Miss, with a spot in Sunday’s ESPN Events Championship Game on the line.