No. 8 Florida State (9-0, 1-0 ACC) defeated Clemson (3-7, 0-1 ACC) by an 81-64 score today in Clemson, SC.
Nicki Ekhomu got the Seminoles off to a great start with a three ball to begin the game. However, the game was tight in the early going. Midway through the first period FSU went on a 6-0 run but Clemson ended it with a three from Destiny Thomas. From there the two teams mostly traded baskets and FSU took a 20-15 lead into the second quarter.
The Seminoles scored the first five points of the period on a Sammie Puisis triple and a layup from Kiah Gillespie. However, Clemson came back strong. The Tigers went on a 9-2 run that was capped by a Kobi Thornton jumper to pull within three at 27-24. River Baldwin converted an old-fashioned three point play to end the run. But Clemson wasn’t done. The Tigers hit three straight triples to take their first lead of the game at 33-30. FSU would respond. The Noles went on a 10-2 run to end the quarter and that staked FSU to a 40-35 halftime lead.
Speaking of 10-2 runs, the Noles had another one to start the second half. The run was capped by a three from Puisis and FSU had a comfortable 50-37 lead. From there the two teams traded baskets and Florida State had a 64-52 lead going into the final stanza.
The two teams started the fourth trading baskets and then the Noles took control. With about seven minutes left FSU went on an 8-0 run to take a commanding 74-56 lead. From there the Noles coasted to a 81-64 victory.
Kiah Gillespie and Sammie Puisis led the Noles with 17 points each. River Baldwin was perfect from the floor (4-4) while delivering a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards. Nicki Ekhomu (11 points) and Nausia Woolfolk (10 points) were the other Noles in double figures.
Clemson swept FSU last year but this team is radically different from last year. The Tigers really only have two returning players (Kobi Thornton, Tylar Bennett) who did anything for them last year therefore Clemson is struggling. The Noles got off to a bit of a sluggish start but they broke the game open with those two 10-2 runs.
River Baldwin and Sammie Puisis are really coming along. The two freshmen are obviously still adjusting to the college game but they both are already positive contributors early in their career.
Clemson does not present the toughest test but FSU is really clicking right now. If the Noles can avoid injuries this could be a special season.
Florida State will welcome St. John’s (5-3, 98 RPI) to Tallahassee on Dec. 15th. The game will tip at 2pm and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.