TALLAHASSEE -- Thirty-nine seconds into Florida State's game against then-No. 3 North Carolina, Seminoles guard Deividas Dulkys caught a pass from Michael Snaer and drained a 3-pointer. It was the first of eight 3s he made on the afternoon.
By the end of the day, Dulkys had scored 32. He was FSU's hero in a season-defining 90-57 win that caused fans to rush the Donald L. Tucker Center floor in euphoria. Little did they know at the time, but the win wouldn't even be the biggest they would see the whole season.
Now a former Seminole who spent his last summer playing his native Lithuania into the Olympics, Dulkys cannot be FSU's Superman this Saturday afternoon when the Tar Heels come to the Capital City for the first time since they were upset last January. His cape will have to passed to someone else.
Who will it be?
Which FSU player will be the difference-maker this time around? Will there be one? Or could a UNC player be the one who turns the tables and gives his team a real chance to win?
In a matter of hours, we will know once and for all.
When Dulkys went off last year, he wasn't the obvious pregame choice to silence the Tar Heels with his hot-shooting long-range hand. Perhaps this season, there will be another unexpected surprise.
Veterans Okaro White, Ian Miller and Snaer are among the probable potential heroes. After all, White scored 20, including a string of 15 straight FSU points, in the Seminoles 65-62 win Wednesday over Maryland. Miller, who returned three games ago from a foot injury, has scored 19 points and hit five 3s in the last two games. Although Snaer hasn't completely dominated this season like some might hope, he leads the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game. He also has scored 17.0 points per game since only scoring 10 in a loss to Florida on Dec. 10.
So, is this the afternoon one of them goes off? Or could true freshman Aaron Thomas, who has 7.3 points per game in 16.5 minutes a game this season? Perhaps the team's third-leading scorer and bench sparkplug Terrance Shannon will have the chance to turn in one of his best games, instead.
The bottom line, though, is this. This is a big game for FSU, and since last January, they have made a practice of showing up and performing well in such contests. The Seminoles are comfortable that any sense of being unsure of themselves in these types of ballgames are behind them. With another big game with UNC looming, they are confident they will repeat with a win Saturday.
Much like last year's game, this weekend's contest comes on the same weekend FSU's football team is hosting several key recruit commitments and targets. On this official visit weekend, another win over the perennial power Tar Heels could have a positive impact for the school's other major revenue sport.
In addition to that, FSU officials are expecting a possible sellout. It would be the first at the Tucker Center this season, and the first since the Seminoles hosted Duke last February.
All of that is to help illustrate the point that this once again is being viewed as a really big game.
To that end, let's share with you these pregame notes to help you get set for this afternoon's 2 p.m. showdown:
---The Seminoles come into this game having won their last two games. Beating Clemson and Maryland in a pair of tight contests, they have gotten off to a strong start as conference play begins. Currently, FSU and Miami are the only 2-0 teams in ACC play.
---The Tar Heels are coming off a 68-59 loss to Miami in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Thursday. It was UNC's second loss of the ACC season after Virginia stunned it on the road in the opener.
---FSU is going for its first 3-0 start in conference play in school history.
---FSU has won 17 of its last 20 games against ACC teams. That includes a 14-3 mark in their last 17 regular season games. Among their wins in the last 20 games against ACC competition, the Seminoles boast an ACC Tournament win over UNC. In the teams' previous meeting, the Seminoles held on to beat the Tar Heels in the tournament final last March in Atlanta.
The win resulted in FSU's first ACC championship.
---At home in ACC play, FSU is a whopping 14-2 in its last 16 games. Two seasons ago, the Seminoles went 7-1 in conference play at the Tucker Center. Last season, they also went 7-1. Saturday's game is FSU's first ACC game at home this season.
---FSU's last home game was Dec. 17, when the Seminoles rolled over Louisiana-Monroe 82-63.
---Fans attending Saturday's game, save your ticket stubs. If you're in the mood for barbeque, local restaurant, Piggy's, has announced it will give patrons who come after the ballgame a deal. For every point the Seminoles win by, Piggy's will take one percent off each bill of a customer who shows a ticket stub from the game.
So if FSU wins and wins by three points, that will be three percent off the meal. If the Seminoles win by 10, that's 10 percent. If they win by 33 points like last year, you guessed it, that's 33 percent off.
PROJECTED STARTING FIVES
G Dexter Strickland ... 8.4 ppg; 4.1 assists per game (7 pts vs. FSU in March 2011)
G Marcus Paige ... 7.2 pg; 4.2 assists per game (First career game against FSU)
F Desmond Hubert ... 1.3 ppg; 2.1 rebounds per game (0 pts vs. FSU last March)
F Reggie Bullock ... 13.6 ppg; 5.6 rebounds per game (7 pts, 7 rebounds vs. FSU last March)
F James Michael McAdoo ... 14.5 ppg; 8.1 rebounds per game (8 rebounds vs. FSU last March)
G Montay Brandon ... 5.6 ppg; 1.7 assists per game (First career game vs. UNC)
G Terry Whisnant ... 6.9 ppg; 1.7 assist per game (2 pts, 1 rebound vs. UNC last January)
G Michael Snaer ... 15.6 ppg; 5.3 rebounds per game (17 pts, 5 rebounds vs. UNC last January)
F Okaro White ... 13.3 ppg; 6.3 rebounds per game (12 pts, 10 rebounds vs. UNC last January)
C Kiel Turpin ... 3.7 ppg; 2.5 rebounds per game (First career game vs. UNC)