Virginia Tech came into its ACC college basketball game at Florida State Wednesday night just looking for something — anything — to go right. But Aaron Thomas, a 6-foot-5 Seminoles guard from Cincinnati, made sure FSU would suffer no slip up against the visiting conference doormats. Thomas scored 24 points and hit six three-pointers as the Seminoles routed the Hokies, 70-50. It was a must win for Florida State, which improved to 5-5 in the conference (15-8 overall) with the victory. A loss to a team like Virginia Tech (8-14, 1-9) might have been a death blow for the Seminoles’ NCAA Tournament hopes.
Instead, Thomas was there every time Florida State needed a big bucket, keeping any ideas of a Virginia Tech comeback out of reach and scoring his second highest number of points in a game this season. In a 106-62 win over Charlotte on Dec. 17, Thomas scored 26 points, but he was 3-for-5 from three-point range in that game. On Wednesday night against Virginia Tech, Thomas was 6-for-8. To put that in perspective, Thomas hit one more three-pointer than did the Hokies, who finished just 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) from outside the arc for the game.
Thomas’ performance has to be a welcome site for a Florida State team that has, at times this season, really struggled offensively. The Seminoles entered Wednesday’s game on a three-game losing streak, the most recent of which was a 53-49 stinker against Clemson. Florida State was also held to 50 and 56 points in earlier losses to Virginia and Duke, respectively, and only scored 56 in a win at Clemson. In the defeats at the hands of the Blue Devils, Thomas only scored a total of 11 points (including only two against Duke). He was 0-for-3 from three-point range in that game.
But on Wednesday, Thomas was not only much more involved in the offense and finding his shots, he was hitting them as well. In a 98-second stretch midway through the second half, Thomas hit three consecutive three-pointers, allowing the Seminoles to open up a a 15-point lead. Florida State was basically in cruise control from there, showing how much it can benefit from Thomas being a big part of the offense.
With eight conference games to go and big wins needed to secure an NCAA Tournament berth, Thomas must show his offensive form from Wednesday night on a consistent basis for the rest of the season.