If you’re a fan of 2 1⁄2 hour basketball games with no rhythm and lots of fouls, this was for you.
But regardless of how referees decide to call the game, players still have to play. And Florida State did just that, putting up a very good offensive performance against a team that entered leading the nation in scoring defense.
Everything was disjointed early, with players struggling to find their rhythm through all the whistles. Senior Phil Cofer was finally able to get Florida State’s offense rolling a little over 10 minutes into the game, when he knocked down three 3s in just over two minutes.
Both teams kind of found themselves at that point, and FSU went into the break with a 36-35 lead.
The 2nd half started, surprisingly, with the Seminoles in a zone for the first time all season. It only lasted six possessions, but the ’Noles got five stops in that time and were able to open a little cushion.
Then the refs took over, again, and things started going sideways. Both teams struggled, but Rutgers was able to retake the lead, 44-41.
That’s when CJ Walker decided he’d had enough. The diminutive guard went on a personal 10-1 run, and FSU was back on top.
Rutgers kept bouncing back, but each time Florida State had an answer, usually in the form of Walker.
FSU played a mix of man and zone the rest of the way, but neither could keep Rutgers off the glass, which is how the Scarlet Knights stayed in the game. But it wasn’t enough.
Down the stretch, Florida State made enough free throws to fly home happy with a 78-73 win.
The ’Noles are now 6-0, while Rutgers takes their first loss, falling to 6-1.
Walker scored a career-high 24 points and added four steals. Cofer made 4-5 3s on his way to 19 points. And with Christ Koumadje sidelined with an injury, Ike Obiagu had the best game of his young career with five points, 10 rebounds, and five blocked shots.
The win pushes the ACC lead in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge to 4-0.
FSU next plays next Monday, at Florida.