BY: John Mamola

FSU guard Aaron Thomas scored 22 points as top-seeded Florida State opened the NIT with a 58-53 win against FloridaGulfCoastUniversity.

Thomas carried the Noles in the second half, scoring 14 consecutive points during one stretch.

Bernard Thompson led the Eagles with 16 points and Jamail Jones chipped in 11.

Okaro White scored 17 for FSU and Montay Brandon finished with eight points.

Neither team could find an offensive groove for most of the night. The teams combined for 35 turnovers and the Seminoles led 24-19 at halftime. The 19 points were the second-lowest scoring half of the season for FloridaGulfCoast (22-13).

The Seminoles (20-13) used a late 8-2 run, including six from White, to grab and hold onto the lead and take down “DunkCity” after FGCU’s memorable run in last year’s NCAA Tournament.