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Inside the box score: FSU 79, No. 19 LSU 76 (OT)

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The ‘Noles win a thriller in Orlando

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Missouri vs Florida State Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
  1. M.J. Walker led the team in minutes (42) and points (21), knocking down 5-9 3s. He leads Florida State with 12 made 3s on the season, and is shooting 50% from deep. He’s struggled in other areas of his game, but his long range shooting and defensive skills give FSU a solid 3-and-D option on the perimeter. As the season progresses, he’ll hopefully begin to show improvement attacking the rim.
  2. Terance Mann had 12 rebounds vs LSU, including a career high seven offensive boards (more on that below). In five games, Mann has now led FSU in rebounding three times. He’s grabbing 14.4% of FSU’s misses, which is nearly double his career average, and he’s improved his defensive rebounding rate as well. He’s also made 80% of his FTs, and knocked down three straight in overtime to set up Mfiondu Kabengele’s buzzer beating heroics.
  3. No freshmen played for the first 11 minutes of the game. But once they got into the game, Coach Hamilton didn’t want to take them out. For the rest of the first half, at least one freshmen was in the lineup. After briefly going back to the starters in the 2nd half, Ham subbed in RaiQuan Gray at the 17:33 mark, and then a freshmen was on the floor for the rest of the half and overtime. Anthony Polite played a career high 21 minutes, and RaiQuan Gray played a career high 16 minutes. Devin Vassell only played four minutes, but was effective picking up a steal and leading a break which led to an M.J. Walker 3-pointer. Anthony Polite is developing nicely into another 3-and-D guy, while RaiQuan flashed his versatility. In a 2-possession stretch in the first half Gray first shut down 5* big Naz Reid, and on the following possession stayed in front of 5-11 PG Tremont Waters, forcing a steal. Freshmen development comes in fits and starts, but yesterday they grew up a bit.
  4. FSU won a game in which they couldn’t throw the ball into the ocean by dominating the glass. The ‘Noles grabbed 22 offensive boards, which was 45.8% of their own misses. It’s the 2nd time this season FSU has grabbed at least 45% of their misses, and FSU is now 22nd nationally in ORB%. Just in the overtime Florida State got eight offensive rebounds. LSU head coach Will Wade noted the overall pressure the ‘Noles apply, saying, “we gave up way too many offensive rebounds (22). We turned the ball over 18 times that was the story of the game, their pressure got to us, they hounded us in the full court. We didn’t handle the pressure well, they got to us on the glass and that did us in.”
  5. Florida State won 79-76 in a 73 possession game. LSU is the first team this season to score a point per possession vs FSU, though their 1.04 was a season low. The Tigers are a young team, but have multiple 5* talents, as well as a trio of other top-60 recruits. They’re a talented team, and a neutral site win over them may look awfully good come March.