In three seasons with Florida State, Toney Douglas has scored more points than any other Seminoles player in more than a decade. More importantly, the senior guard has the team poised for its best conference finish in even longer.
In his final home game Sunday, Douglas hopes to help the 24th-ranked Seminoles reach 10 ACC wins for the first time in 16 years as they host a Virginia Tech team trying to finish the regular season on a high note in hopes of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
A transfer from Auburn after his freshman season, Douglas has developed into one of the top players in the ACC in three seasons with Florida State.
He’s second in the conference in scoring with 20.8 points per game this season, and his 1,527 career points at FSU rank seventh in the program’s history. The last player to score that many with the Seminoles was James Collins, who totaled 1,793 points in four seasons from 1993-97.
Douglas’ strong senior season has helped Florida State (22-8, 9-6) win nine ACC games for the second time in four years. A victory in Sunday’s regular-season finale would give the Seminoles 10 conference victories for the first time since they went 12-4 in 1992-93, their second season in the ACC.
Florida State nearly earned that 10th win Tuesday night, but fell short in an 84-81 loss at No. 7 Duke. Douglas scored 27 points and made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:25 remaining before the Blue Devils pulled away with a game-ending 10-5 run.
“I thought we showed a little inexperience during (Duke’s late run) where we kind of lost our composure for a second,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We regained it and came back, but that’s a part of the growing up process.
“We haven’t lost two games in a row all year and hopefully we can bounce back on Sunday and put us in the best position we can be going into the ACC tournament.”
Hamilton’s team is looking for its second win over Virginia Tech (17-12, 7-8) this season. Douglas scored 22 points and made a tiebreaking runner with six seconds remaining to give Florida State a 67-65 road victory Feb. 21.
Douglas has averaged 20.3 points and made eight of his 16 3-point attempts in three career games against the Hokies, who are entering their fourth straight game against a ranked opponent.
Virginia Tech started that stretch with an 80-77 road win over then-No. 12 Clemson on Feb. 25. It’s put together solid efforts in its last two games but dropped them both at home, 72-65 to Duke on Feb. 28 and 86-78 against No. 2 North Carolina on Wednesday night.
“We’ve got one more game now,” point guard Hank Thorns said after Wednesday’s defeat - the Hokies’ fifth in six games. “It’s time to do it.”
Though Virginia Tech’s recent struggles have put the team’s postseason future in doubt, coach Seth Greenberg isn’t feeling the same pressure.
“Sunday’s not do or die,” he said. “We have a conference tournament to play. We can win games there. … We’ve got to find a way to dig down and grind out the last five minutes of a game. … We’ve got a lot of basketball to play.”