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Quote:By AARON BEARD The Associated Press
Published: Jan 27, 2005

RALEIGH, N.C. - Finally, Florida State doesn't have to be afraid of playing on the road in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Von Wafer scored 23 points Wednesday night, helping the Seminoles earn their first ACC road win in nearly four years by beating N.C. State 70-64.

Al Thornton scored 12 points for the Seminoles (11-9, 3-4), who had lost 26 straight road games in the league.  It was their first road league win since beating Clemson 75-63 on March 3, 2001 - a relief for a team that has repeatedly come close on the road only to walk away frustrated.

"We were always confident,'' Wafer said.  "We would always come close, close but no cigar.  And we finally overcame that.  We all believed.''

Florida State helped itself by getting out in front of the Wolfpack (12-7, 2-4). The Seminoles used a big run to close the first half and take a 33-25 lead at halftime. Wafer then scored eight quick points, hitting two 3-pointers and throwing down a slam off a turnover to push that lead to 45-31 with 17:03 left.

That helped the Seminoles build confidence and kept N.C. State in constant catch-up mode.  And though the Wolfpack never quit, the 'Noles didn't waver late as they had so many times before.

"I saw a look in our team's eyes that they were determined to win,'' FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said.  "They were confident and focused, and I am proud of them.''

Last year, Florida State lost five of its eight league road games by seven points or less.

In a 90-87 overtime loss at Wake Forest - a game that seemed to illustrate the Seminoles' ACC road troubles - Florida State blew a 17-point lead and collapsed amid a sea of turnovers that gave the Demon Deacons momentum late in regulation.

This time, the Seminoles held on.

When the final horn sounded, Wafer raised his hands in the air as he walked across midcourt then pumped his fist in jubilation.

Now the Seminoles have to build on the win. They upset Wake Forest last week, but followed that with a 32-point home loss to Duke.

"I didn't want to celebrate because we win a big game, then we lose,'' said Alexander Johnson, who scored 11.  "If we can win three in a row, then it might mean something a little bit.''

It was a much different feeling for the Wolfpack, who continued their up-and-down ways in league play. N.C. State has beaten Georgia Tech and won at Maryland, but had a pair of one-point road losses to league newcomers Virginia Tech and Miami.

The Wolfpack hardly helped themselves in this one. N.C. State shot 54 percent in the second half, but went just 13- for-23 from the free-throw line. That included several key misses by Julius Hodge, Gavin Grant and Jordan Collins.

Way to Go Noles!!! 04-rock
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