Against a team which likes to play four guys on the court who are 6-8, the Noles came out in a press for the first time all year. On their first possession, Ohio was forced to call a timeout because they couldn't get the ball in. After the TO, FSU forced a 5-second call. Two possessions later they forced a shot clock violation.
The press had Ohio rattled early and FSU was able to jump out to a 15-2 lead. But gradually, Ohio got their feet under them and began to get back into the game. It was a simple man-press designed to keep the ball out of the hands of their play-maker Jaaron Simmons, and once they figured that out they were able to adjust.
The Noles made Ohio's comeback easier by gambling far too often on defense, and against a team which shoots so many 3s, this almost always ends poorly.The Bobcats made 5-11 3s in the first half.
By the break they had headed off one more FSU run, and the lead was just 45-38. Dwayne Bacon (15), and Malik Beasley (11) were both in double figures.
The second half began with everyone's worst fears coming true. Kenny Kaminski - who led the Big Ten in 3-pt shooting two years ago - got hot and nailed three straight 3s. FSU was able to get the lead back to five, but that's when the whistles starting coming.
There is a emphasis this year on "freedom of movement" and for the most part it's been okay. But then something like this happens. The Bobcats were in the bonus by the under-12 timeout, and in the double bonus two minutes later. At one point they went seven straight possessions without attempting a shot.
I'm not at all implying that the refs were favoring Ohio. It's just that the refs took over the game. "Freedom of movement" became constant stoppages in the clock.
Malik Beasly and Dwayne Bacon were the only FSU players to score over a seven minute stretch, and at the under-8 timeout the Noles were clinging to a one-point lead.
The Noles were able to keep them at bay however, and after a Dwayne Bacon jumper gave FSU an 8-point lead, the Bobcats had to start fouling.
FSU made free throws and walked away with a 90-81 lead.
Dwayne Bacon had game highs of 25 points and seven rebounds. Malik Beasley had 22 and five. Xavier Rathan-Mayes had 14 points and six assists, and Boris Bojanovsky scored 14.
The win pushed FSU to a 2-1 record at the Paradise Jam. Vegas gave the Noles about a 19% chance of winning the tournament, and while it's disappointing that that didn't happen, the Noles are right on track with where we'd thought they'd be.
They are now 4-1 and can enjoy Thanksgiving break before they travel to Iowa on December 2nd for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.