No one would have predicted that Ryan Reid would score more than Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors combined. Florida State's lone senior was on a mission from the very first tip. In 36 minutes, Reid scored 17 points, had 5 rebounds, 3 steals and only one block. His energy under the boards was impressive. More impressive was his ability to step into the lane as the clock ticked down in over time to take a charge. This was Ryan Reid's best performance of his career and it could not have come at a better time.
This game was physical from the start, with both teams trying to establish the paint and demonstrate their athleticism. It was not the best basketball played, but it was certainly a great game to watch. Despite the constant pressure from Georgia Tech, the Seminoles demonstrated more energy and movement on offense than has been demonstrated so far this year. However, Florida State did not shoot the ball well despite numerous open looks at the basket. Chris Singleton went 0 for 6 from behind the arc, but again came through on the defensive end and made a few key baskets down the stretch. Derwin Kitchen passed on many open looks but finished the night 2 for 5 with 7 points and 6 assists. He only turned the ball over once. He hit a key three point shot down the stretch that kept the Noles in the game as the Yellow Jackets had a big run to finish the second half in which Zach Peacock could not miss.
The real heroes in this game were the Seminoles big men in the paint. Solomon Alabi, Ryan Reid and Terrance Shannon played an outstanding collective effort that limited Georgia Tech's highly touted front court. The Noles played great defense with multiple players crashing from the weak side to double on the Yellow Jacket's big men. They frustrated Lawal and Favors. Alabi finished with 9 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks. He was only credited for one turnover and was only called for two fouls. Lawal and Favors combined for 12 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks. However, Favors had four turnovers.
Florida State's defense held Georgia Tech to their worst shooting night of the season and their second lowest OR% of the year. The Seminoles also slowed the pace down to the Yellow Jackets lowest pace of the year. And despite all of the no calls that Georgia Tech received, the Seminoles were also on the favorable end of the whistle. With only 3 fouls, Chris Singleton had the most of any Seminole, two of which were questionable calls. The Yellow Jackets only had a FTRate of 10%, by far their lowest total of the year.
This was a nail biter and the Seminoles hung in to win this game. it should have been won in regulation, but the Seminoles could not make key free throws down the stretch. Regardless, a road victory in the ACC against a ranked opponent is always a great way to start the regular conference season. There is still significant room for improvement but this was a great effort. The Yellow Jackets dropped out of the top 25 today for the first time all year. The Seminoles are lurking just outside the top 25. Now, the Seminoles will turn their attention to the 1 and 8 Tennessee Martin out of the Ohio Valley Conference who will visit the Tucker Center on Tuesday night. This cannot be a let down game for the Noles.