Florida State's seniors have seen a number of memorable moments during their time in Tallahassee.
Senior Bernard James will be one of several to be honored on Sunday.
Those that have been on the basketball team since their freshman years in 2008 have been a part of a run of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances, a streak that will certainly reach four when the 2012 bracket is announced a week from today.
Others, like center Bernard James, joined in last season and helped lead the Seminoles to their first Sweet 16 appearance in 18 years.
And Jeff Peterson, whose senior season is his first and only at FSU, came to the lineup and was part of an Atlantic Coast Conference season that saw three improbable and dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointers.
They've all got postseason aspirations to look forward to, but Florida State's seniors today will play their final game at Civic Center, against the opponent that effectively started this season's run of ACC success: the Clemson Tigers.
“It went fast, I'll tell you that,” senior guard Deividas Dulkys said. “Four years move by.”
Added fellow senior Luke Loucks: “It's unbelievable. I always hear the older guys, my parents and the coaches say time flies in the blink of an eye and you'll be looking back in 20 years, saying look at your career and it's unbelievable how fast this four years has gone by.
“I'm really proud that I've been on this team for the past four years and I feel like we've done a lot of special things, but … I still feel like our best basketball is ahead of us.”
It's been nearly two months since Clemson embarrassed the Seminoles (20-9, 11-4 ACC) with a 79-59 victory at Littlejohn Coliseum that sent FSU to its third loss in four games and cast a cloud of uncertainty at the season's midway point.
After that game, a team that appeared on the verge of collapse instead reeled off seven consecutive ACC wins – including a 33-point victory over North Carolina and rare win at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium – and have won 11 of their last 14 games.
“We're a lot different,” said sophomore Ian Miller. “We've got good continuity now. We've gotten into the flow of things. It's not our first ACC game anymore, so now we've all got to do our best and put it together.”
The ACC slate hasn't been as kind to the Tigers (16-13, 8-7) since their first meeting with FSU. Clemson has suffered a pair of three-game skids – including one that started after it beat the Seminoles – and fell to 5-7 in league play before putting together a three-game winning streak in advance of today's game.
Andre Young, who scored 18 in his last time out against the Seminoles, leads Clemson with 13.2 points per game. Tanner Smith (11.2 ppg) and Devin Booker (10.7) also average scoring in double figures.
“We lost to them,” said Dulkys, who expects to have his host family and relatives from Chicago in attendance today. “We know what they're capable of. They're a very good team right now at 8-7 in the conference, they're going to look to beat us to get a chance (to get in the NCAA Tournament) and we're going to be focused. We're going to be energized. We're going to be ready.”
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