FSU gambled with a tough opening schedule, and it didn't pay off. After handling Manhattan in the season opener, FSU faced Colonial favorite Northeastern and fell short. The Huskies were on fire from deep in the first half, making 7-10 3s, while the Noles only made one. At that point you have to hope for some regression to the mean, but it did not happen. FSU only made one three pointer in the 2nd half, and that was a 28-foot bomb from Aaron Thomas. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had a three to tie the game at the buzzer, but it rimmed out and the Huskies won 76-73.
The Huskies veteran team had FSU confused on ball screens all night. The Noles didn't have an answer for their All Conference center Scott Eatherton, and while they struggled to track him, the rest of the team ran free. Credit David Walker and Quincy Ford (36% and 34% career 3-point shooters) for knocking down 8-11 from beyond the arc. When that happens you tip your hat and move on. Of much more concern was the 50% Northeastern converted on 2s. That simply cannot happen for FSU to have a successful season. FSU also struggled from the line, making only 5-10.
FSU's best hope for containing Eatherton was Kiel Turpin. But Turp's knee was sore after the first game, and he was limited to nine minutes tonight. Hopefully it is nothing major as the Noles need a healthy Turpin in the middle.
The best player on the floor for Florida State was Montay Brandon. The junior made all eight of his FG attempts, scoring 16 points and adding seven rebounds. Aaron Thomas was dominant at times, leading all players with 24 points and six steals, but he committed seven turnovers including a silly behind-the-back dribble in traffic with the game on the line.
Freshman Phil Cofer had a nice game with 14 points, while Kiel Turpin had 8 points (in 9 minutes), and Devon Bookert had six assists and no turnovers.
The loss is disappointing, but not terrible, as Northeastern is the pick in their conference and would be favored over at least a couple ACC teams.
Now the Noles take to a weekend on the road, where they'll face Providence and UMass in Connecticut.