By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
March 7, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- In 2005, Leonard Hamilton was in his third season as the head coach of Florida State.
Hamilton’s team had some decent highs early in the campaign, including a 82-69 home victory over Florida, but also had some crushing defeats; notably, back-to-back losses to Clemson and Miami by a total of three points.
To make matters worse, Wake Forest was coming to town.
The Demon Deacons were experiencing a program renaissance, as coach Skip Prosser had assembled a roster full of talent led by now NBA great Chris Paul.
Wake had, for the most part, mowed down a schedule full of talent including victories over Arizona, Texas, Virginia and North Carolina, all of whom were ranked when squaring off against the Deacs.
However, the Seminoles had two stars beginning to come into their own as well.
Al Thornton and Von Wafer were both rising sophomores, putting up impressive numbers with multiple games of scoring 10 or more points. The young squad was showing great potential but lacked consistency and, while the ‘Noles had some nice wins, there was nothing you could call “signature,” losing their only game against a Top 25 opponent to that point (Maryland) in overtime.
So, with opportunity knocking for the ‘Noles and a super star guard leading the way for the Deacs, the two squads were destined to put on a show.
Wafer posted a breakout game for the garnet and gold, recording the only 30-point game of the season for FSU. Not to be outdone, Thornton logged a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul put up a performance worthy of a future NBA superstar NBA, logging 29 points, nine boards and six assists.
The Seminoles surprised Wake early, taking a 46-32 lead to the halftime locker room but a team that good wouldn’t be put away that easy.
Wake Forest dominated the second half of play, outscoring the Tribe 44-30 in the second 20 minutes of play; the final of those three points proved crucial as Wake’s Taron Downey drained a three ball while being fouled to tie.
The #3 team in the land made an NCAA record 50+ free throws and were headed to the line with a chance to win.
The game went to overtime, where junior guard Todd Galloway took over, scoring nine of the ‘Noles 15 points in the period and securing a 91-83 victory for FSU, one of the biggest of the Leonard Hamilton era at the time.
The 2004-2005 Florida State basketball team saw much more adversity as the campaign continued, losing 11 of 13 games after the win against Wake Forest, but it should not take away the significance of the win.
It was a victory that sent shockwaves through the ACC and was a sign of things to come for Hamilton’s program who by the end of the decade were comfortable in their role of “giant killer” in the conference.