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Slow 2nd half start dooms ‘Noles in loss to Louisville

The 28-game home winning streak is over

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Florida State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

For much of the first half the Seminoles played brilliantly. For the first six minutes of the 2nd half, they were terrible. And it cost them as Louisville walked away with a 73-69 win.

From the opening tip, Florida State came out looking like a team that was about to put their 1-2 conference start behind them. FSU opened with a 9-0 run before Louisville found their legs. The Cardinals were able to battle back to within three with about seven minutes left in the half, but then the ‘Noles went on another tear.

At the break it was 45-32.

In the first half, FSU committed just five turnovers. In their first nine possessions of the 2nd half they committed six. That allowed Louisville to trim a 13-point deficit to just five, and by the time the clock had gone under 10 minutes to play the game was tied.

Down the stretch it was a close game, and when it looked like Louisville was going to put it away, the ‘Noles were given a surprise reprieve by the refs.

With 2:34 to play, the refs made the unconscionable decision to replace a net rather than just leave one string hanging (or tape it).

This led to a 15-minute delay, while the arena staff struggled to replace the net. Finally, they just taped it and played on.

And Braian Angola promptly drilled two 3s to cut the lead to two.

After getting a big steal on the defensive end, FSU had the ball and the final shot, down 71-69.

Terance Mann drove right, got hacked, and missed the shot. Only the refs forgot to blow the whistle. The announcers, giddy from a long night, were laughing about how Louisville got away with one.

Fans will want to focus on this moment in the game, but the reason this was even close at the end was because of the sloppy 2nd half start that allowed the ‘Noles 13-point lead to wither. And it wasn’t Louisville pressure forcing that rough stretch. It was just lack of focus and composure by Florida State.

In the end, it was Louisville 73, FSU 69.

Terance Mann had a big game with 25 points and eight rebounds. Braian Angola had 18. Phil Cofer had a terrible night shooting, but came up huge on the boards with 10 rebounds. And Christ Koumadje had eight points and nine rebounds.

Florida State falls to 1-3 in the ACC, and hosts Syracuse on Saturday.