Thompson, Gulf Coast fall to ‘Noles in NIT

Bernard Thompson’s junior season ended Tuesday, but not without one last solid game from the Conyers native.

The Rockdale graduate scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the second half in Florida Gulf Coast’s 58-53 loss to Florida State in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament in Tallahassee.

Gulf Coast (22-13), which reached the NCAA Sweet 16 appearance a year ago, was playing in the postseason in consecutive seasons for the first time in program history - and in its first NIT game.

Florida State (20-13) led by as much as seven points in the opening half, but it was a much-tighter second half. The visiting Eagles took the lead on a number on occasions, including three times on Thompson buckets. After Jamail Jones hit a jumper to gave Gulf Coast a 49-48 advantage with about 5 1/2 minutes to play, Okaro White’s dunk was part of a quick, 6-0 run that put the Seminoles ahead to stay.

Aaron Thomas scored a game-high 22 points and White added 17 for Florida State, which will host Georgetown in the second round later this week.

Thompson ended the year leading the Eagles by averaging just over 15 points in 33 games.