FSU played for the second straight night in Niceville after beating Tennessee in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic. The ‘Noles took on Purdue for the second straight year as the defensive-minded teams squared off for the early-season tournament title. Neither team scored more than 60 points in their semifinal wins, but both defenses suffocated their opponents. The two teams didn’t come out of the gate much hotter on Saturday night.
FSU and Purdue combined to go just 5/15 from the field by the first media timeout in the game. The ‘Noles offense was shooting 44.4% from the field and only had one turnover by the U-8 media timeout, but no made 3-pointers or FT’s limited FSU to just 16 points and a one-point lead over Purdue.
Once again the FSU defense paved the way to an FSU lead with a 27-24 lead at the half. The ‘Noles made just 11/27 FG attempts and made no 3-pointers in the first half but caused nine Purdue turnovers. The ‘Noles had six second chance points while Purdue had zero. FSU also held the Boilermakers to no points off turnovers while the ‘Noles had nine. Trent Forrest led the way with six points and three steals.
Purdue came out of the half on a 7-0 run after making three of their first four FG’s forcing Leonard Hamilton to call a TO. FSU’s offense continued to struggle in the half court as they turned the ball over four times within the first four minutes as Purdue pushed the lead to seven at the first media timeout of the half. The Seminoles didn’t make a FG until a Devin Vassell slam over four minutes into the half.
Purdue entered the bonus just seven minutes into the half after seven quick FSU fouls, including three on Balsa Koprivica. Forrest cut the Purdue lead to just three on an and-1 before M.J. Walker tied the game up with the ‘Noles first three of the game with 8:26 left in the game. FSU trailed Purdue 49-47 at the U-8 media timeout with 6:41 remaining.
Vassell tied the game with a tip-in after a missed shot on FSU’s 9th offensive rebound of the game before Forrest knocked down consecutive free throws as FSU retook a 51-49 lead with 5:13 remaining. Raiquan Gray capped off an 8-0 FSU run with an emphatic dunk off a Purdue turnover as FSU took a 53-49 lead into the U-4 media timeout.
Four straight free throws for the Boilermakers tied the game back up at 53 before Jahaad Proctor’s second three of the night gave Purdue a two-point lead with 2:33 to play. The ‘Noles got a huge defensive stop before Forrest tied the game up with 38 seconds left. The Seminoles got another defensive stop as the Boilermakers turned the ball over for the 19th time in the game with 16.6 seconds remaining. FSU had a chance for a game winner with the shot clock off, but Forrest couldn’t get a shot off as three Boilermakers surrounded him as the clock ran out on regulation.
Neither team made a field goal through the first 3:20 of the period but two Walker free throws gave the ‘Noles a 60-58 lead. Purdue got the first bucket of the overtime period as Eric Hunter Jr. made a wild layup to tie the game up with 1:40 left in OT. FSU retook the lead with 38 seconds remaining as Gray made 1-2 from the free throw line. The defense came up in the clutch again with back-to-back crucial defensive stands. Anthony Polite missed back-to-back free throws but responded with perfect defense on a Purdue drive as Vassell picked up the defensive board before icing the game with two made free throws.
FSU’s defense could not have been any better in Niceville and the ‘Noles are leaving town with two huge non-conference wins and the Emerald Coast Classic title. After dropping the season opener, FSU has now ripped off seven straight wins. Purdue isn’t ranked in the national standings but came in ranked ninth by KenPom. The resume is already loaded early in the season for the Seminoles.
The Florida State defense continues to prove that it can win ball games even if the offense is making minimal buckets. FSU didn’t make one FG in the OT period but still won the game. Forrest led the way with 17 points and four boards while Vassell tacked on 13 points and six rebounds.