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Temple rallies in 2nd half to defeat FSU basketball

NCAA Basketball: NIT Season Tip-Off-Temple vs Florida State Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

After playing what was probably their best first half of the season, the ‘Noles looked like they were going to cruise in the 2nd half. Following a layup by Jon Isaac, and then a steal and layup of the inbounds pass, the Seminoles were up 18.

But from there, it was all Temple.

Starting at the 13:29 mark of the 2nd half, the Owls made six straight 3-pointers, and were fouled on another. The 18 point lead was erased with seven minutes left to play.

Down the stretch the lead changed hands five times, and the ‘Noles found themselves with the final possession, down one.

FSU cleared out for Dwayne Bacon who drove into the short corner and was tied up. But the Seminoles retained possession, and had time for one play with 4 seconds left. A well executed baselines out of bounds play led to an open Jonathan Isaac layup, but he missed it.

A couple of Owl free throws later, and the ‘Noles suffered their first loss of the season, 89-86.

It’s unfortunate that Isaac missed the layup, as that is what people will remember. Outside of that, he played his best game of the season, with 19 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Along with Dwayne Bacon, who scored 22, the Seminole offense was calm and efficient most of the game.

But it was the defense that was the problem, especially in the 2nd half. The long range run that Temple went on wasn’t the problem. Those things happen in the 3-point lottery. The bigger issue was an inability to rebound, allowing Temple to grab 38% of their own misses, and the ease at which Temple’s guards were able to penetrate the defense.

If FSU is going to meet their goals this season, then the defense needs to find it’s footing. Playing great defense for one half isn’t going to cut it.

The ‘Noles now move into the losers bracket of the NIT Season Tip Off, and await either Illinois or No. 19 West Virginia.