After the near disastrous first half versus Florida Atlantic, FSU went on a 28-12 tear to open the second half, taking a four-point lead with less than eight minutes to play. At that point it looked like the Noles might take over the game. Instead, the Owls scored two quick buckets to tie the game. After an FSU basket, the Owls tied it again. From there they scored three straight from the free throw line, and suddenly the Noles found themselves down three after the final media timeout.
We'd gone from feeling that we'd taken control of the game all the way back to contemplating a loss to a 2-8 team.
The next 75-seconds would change all of that.
It started with an FSU possession, down three. Dwayne Bacon has the ball on the far left. Phil Cofer (circled) is coming to set a screen, but not for Bacon. Instead he's screening away from the ball for XRM (who is in the center of the floor by the mid-court logo). Malik Beasley cuts opposite from far right corner (arrow).
Screening away from the ball allows FSU to see how FAU is defending screens, and XRM cuts down the lane, dragging his man (arrow) with him into the corner. Meanwhile, Phil Cofer (circled) now goes about his real purpose which was to screen for Bacon, giving him space to get into the lane that XRM is currently clearing. The two quick screens are tough for FAU's center to defend, who at this point is fatigued.
Bacon drives (arrow) into the now empty lane, and should he encounter a defense he knows that Malik Beasley (circled) is drifting up to the space that Bacon vacated, and will be looking to launch a three.
But Bacon is a 5* recruit, and he shows it here. Apparently two guys standing in the middle of the lane is an invitation to score, and he explodes through them for the bucket and foul. Tie game.
Here is the entire video:
Now on defense, the Noles play great and force a contested three pointer. But the rebound goes long and Dwayne Bacon is unable to corral it, tipping the ball out of bounds. The Owls get a fresh shot clock, but it's clear the FSU defense is in sync at this point, as it takes FAU three attempts to get the ball into play. Once in play, they try and isolate Devon Bookert on defense, but he shuts his man down.
FAU kicks the ball to Clemson transfer Adonis Filer (arrow), but there is now only six seconds (circle) left to shoot.
Filer attempts to take XRM off the dribble, but XRM moves his feet and stays in front of Filer. When Filer looks away from the help defense (he looks toward the camera), Malik Beasley (circled) takes advantage by dropping down and is in position when Filer spins back his way. Beasley gets the deflection.
After the deflection, Beasley doesn't wait around. He can see that XRM is in position to come up with the loose ball, and Beasley does what he does best which is to get into transition. XRM (circled) has an easy look ahead, and after a clean pass you can already count the points as the closest defender (arrow) is even with Beasley and he ain't catching him.
The Noles now have a 2-point lead.
After Beasley's dunk, the defense immediately pressures the inbounds. Bookert and Beasley's jobs are to try to take away the short pass, while Bacon (circled) plays safety. His job is to make sure that the passer cannot make a straight-line pass to someone behind the three defenders. If the two close guys aren't available, FSU wants to force a lob, and hopefully one of the back defenders can intercept it. Sure enough, they try to go over Bacon's head, and he makes a sensational play that the cameramen largely miss. He leaps and tips the ball into the air, and then he grabs the loose ball and goes immediately to the rim.
This put the Noles up four. To see how big of a momentum shift this was, take a look at Bacon after he makes that steal and bucket. And then when FAU calls a timeout watch Malik Beasley's reaction.
The best part is that XRM and Montay Brandon are having none of it. They immediately begin to huddle the players to make sure everyone stays focused for the final two minutes of the game.