It wasn’t pretty by any means but the Florida State basketball team wrapped up its out-of-conference slate with a 76-68 win over the Samford Bulldogs marred by sloppy play and poor shooting, at least for the opening 20 minutes.
It was an equally messy start from both the Seminoles and the Bulldogs. Over halfway through the first half, there were as many combined turnovers as there were combined converted field goals (11). At the half, FSU clung to a narrow 31-27 lead in spite of the fact that the ‘Noles shot 36.4% from the floor and 21.4% from outside the arc, committing seven turnovers in the process.
Terrance Mann and Xavier Rathan-Mayes singlehandedly kept the Seminoles in the game over the opening 20 minutes. They were a combined 7-9 shooting for 18 of FSU’s 31 points.
Coming out of halftime, the ‘Noles put up four quick fastbreak points to open the scoring and the Florida State lead was never smaller than five points the rest of the way.
Samford, a team that averaged 20.1 three-point attempts per game entering Monday, hung around into the second half thanks to a strong perimeter performance from freshman guard Triston Chambers, who was 3-5 from outside the arc. However, the rest of the Bulldogs were a combined 6-20 (30%) from 3 and the Seminoles opened up a 17-point lead with 6:12 left.
The Bulldogs went on a run of their own to cut the lead back to single digits just inside the four-minute mark, but the margin proved to be too much and the Seminoles put away the Bulldogs, albeit with another less-than-stellar finish.
A pair of Seminoles stepped up to lead the way for FSU in the scoring column. Mann put up a career-high 19 points on an almost-perfect 7-8 shooting and Rathan-Mayes added 15 points as a part of his exceptional all-around outing which also saw him accumulate a team-high five assists, and four rebounds. On an off night for FSU’s leading scorer, Dwayne Bacon extended his double-digit scoring streak to 22 games with less than two minutes left in Monday’s victory.
With the win, the Seminoles wrap up out-of-conference play with a 12-1 record, tied for the best 13-game start in program history with the 1988-1989 and 2003-2004 teams. Next up for Florida State, after a nine-day break, is a visit from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons next Wednesday, December 28th to open up ACC play.