TALLAHASSEE (AP) - Aaron Thomas scored 22 points as top-seeded Florida State opened the National Invitation Tournament with a 58-53 win against Florida Gulf Coast, last year's NCAA tournament darlings better known as Dunk City.
Thomas carried the Seminoles in the second half, scoring 14 consecutive points during one stretch. He was four points shy of matching a career high.
Bernard Thompson led the Eagles with 16 points and Jamail Jones chipped in 11. Florida Gulf Coast won two NCAA tournament games as a 15 seed last season.
Okaro White scored 17 for Florida State and Montay Brandon finished with eight.
The Seminoles (20-13) used a late 8-2 run, including six from White, to grab and hold onto the lead.
FSU will host No. 4-seeded Georgetown (17-14) in the second round.