Trying to build a tourney resume after starting ACC play 1-3 was tough enough, and that was before the Seminole basketball team found out they’d have to play with Terance Mann. Missing their leading scorer and rebounder (concussion), the Seminoles started slow in both halves, but luckily there was free basketball today. And in the 10 minutes of double-overtime, FSU was able to outscore Syracuse 27-16 to take home the 101-90 win.
FSU began the game with a really effective attack versus Syracuse’s zone. The Orange have a national top 15 defense, so this is easier said than done. Unfortunately, Florida State forgot the most important part, which is actually knocking down open shots once you work to find them.
The cold shooting ‘Noles offense, however, was complimented by a defense that played one of it’s best halves of the season. The rotations were crisp. The help was on time. And were it not for Syracuse shooting far better than average, the ‘Noles would have been up big.
As it was, Florida State found some late rhythm and were able to go into the break leading 31-21.
And then the demons of Louisville and North Carolina appeared. FSU’s cold second half starts were clearly on the players’ minds, as in the opening minutes multiple guys were passing up open shots in order to try and create for their teammates. This led to a bunch of bad possessions. The problem was compounded by Syracuse’s sudden inability to miss and FSU’s 10-point halftime lead was turned into a 7-point deficit with 10 minutes left in the game.
That’s when the ‘Noles found their footing, and were able to battle back. But bad news came late in regulation, when PJ Savoy got rolled up on, and left the game without being able to put any weight on his right knee.
At the end, there were 20 seconds remaining, with FSU up four, when for the 2nd straight game a terrible call went against the good guys that had the potential to cost them the game. Oshae Brissett went in for the dunk and lost control of the ball. Instead of an FSU rebound to seal the game, the refs invented a foul on Mfiondu Kabengele and suddenly it was a 2-point game. CJ Walker had the ability to seal it at the free throw line, but only made one.
In a foul-or-defend moment on the other end, FSU elected to defend with a double team at the 3-pt line, and Tyus Battle (a 32% 3-pt shooter) made a desperation three over Trent Forrest and a late rotating Braian Angola.
FSU had a chance to win it in the final second, but Kabengele missed a five footer at the buzzer.
The first overtime saw FSU fall behind, and then battle back to force another when Trent Forrest knocked down a tough runner in the lane.
The second overtime saw FSU dominate a team that was running out of steam.
The final was 101-90.
Braian Angola led Florida State with 24 points and eight assists. Christ Koumadje was a load in the middle, scoring a career high 23 points to go along with eight rebounds and four blocks. Phil Cofer bounced back from a rough game vs Louisville with 16 points and eight rebounds, and hit a clutch late three in regulation. Kabengele and PJ Savoy each scored 11.
Now FSU faces a quick turnaround, and has to fly to Boston to face the best Boston College squad in several years. The game will tip at 7 PM on Monday.