Florida State (2-1) vs. Saint Joseph's (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,734) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: TruTV. Home Record: FSU 1-1, SJU 1-0. Away Record: FSU 0-0, SJU 0-0. Neutral Record: FSU 1-0, SJU 1-0. Conference Record: FSU 0-0, SJU 0-0. Series Record: Florida State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Saint Joseph's Hawks and the Florida State Seminoles will meet at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night in the championship game of the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Florida State encountered an unexpected stumbling block in its home opener against South Alabama by losing 76-71, but since then it has gotten on track with impressive wins over Buffalo (95-68) and BYU (88-70) to find its way to this title tilt.
Saint Joseph's qualified for the four-team tournament by defeating Yale at home in the preliminary round in convincing fashion, 61-35. The Hawks then followed that up with a surprising overtime victory over the 20th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 79-70.
The Seminoles won the only other matchup between these two teams back in 1985, 88-72.
Florida State put together a balanced effort in its semifinal games as it shot 58 percent from the field, including 11-of-20 from behind the three-point line. Leading the way for the Seminoles was Okaro White with 17 points on a nearly-perfect shooting night (5-of-6 from the field, 6-of-7 from the foul line). Right on White's heels was All-America candidate Michael Snaer, who tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Snaer is the team's leading scorer (15.0 ppg) and rebounder (6.7 rpg) on the young season, although he would undoubtedly like to get his field goal percentage up (.367) and his turnovers down (12). Ian Miller and Devon Bookert each tallied 15 points, and the two combined to drain six three-pointers on the night. Even with a loss on its resume', FSU is still outscoring its opponents by an average of 13.4 ppg.
The story of the season so far for Saint Joseph's has been the team's outstanding play at the defensive end of the court. After allowing a minuscule 35 points on 25 percent field goal shooting to Yale in the opener, it followed with another impressive effort against a much more potent Notre Dame squad as it held the Irish to less than 40 percent shooting. The shooting effort for the Hawks wasn't too shabby either, as they connected on 46.6 percent of their field goal attempts. They had a clutch night at the free-throw line as well, going 19-of-24, including 9-of-10 in the overtime period. Leading the way for Saint Joseph's was Ronald Roberts with 21 points and 16 rebounds, his second double-double in as many games to begin the season. Roberts was just one piece of the starting lineup that put up all 79 points for the Hawks. Chris Wilson scored 19 points on 6-of-10 from the floor, while Halil Kanacevic stuffed the stat sheet with 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three blocks and three steals. Langston Galloway and C.J. Aiken finished with 13 points and 11 points, respectively.
Saint Joseph's has a talented starting five, and it proved against Notre Dame that when it is on, it can beat anyone. However, the Irish aren't nearly as potent as FSU is from the outside, and Snaer and company could give the Hawks fits. It'll be close, but figure the Seminoles to come out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Florida State 80, Saint Joseph's 75
11/17 10:35:06 ET