No. 18 FSU (13-2, 3-1) upset No. 7 Louisville (11-3, 2-1) 78-65 on the road for their second top-10 win of the season.
Both FSU and UL got off to slow starts from the floor, combining to make just 4-13 shots by the first media timeout of the game. After scoring on their first two possessions, the Cardinals went without a score for over three minutes as the Seminoles’ defense woke up after a quick 5-0 start of UL.
After the first media timeout, the Seminoles got M.J. Walker off the bench after he missed FSU’s last game with a hip injury. Walker immediately knocked down a baseline jumper, a 3-pointer, and a reverse layup to give the ‘Noles their first lead of the game. Florida State went into the U-12 media timeout with a 14-12 lead behind four early blocks and making six of their first twelve shots.
Jordan Nwora single-handedly carried the Cards early. Nwora put up 19 points on 6-8 shooting while the rest of the team went just 3-16 from the field in the first 13 minutes. The Seminoles matched Nwora with Walker. The junior put up 15 points on 6-8 shooting after coming off the bench.
FSU went into the half up 39-32, shooting 55.2% from the floor and 7-16 from deep. The Cardinals kept themselves in the game with nine more free throws and points off turnovers than the ‘Noles. Outside of Nwora, the Cardinals shot just 13.8% from the floor in the half. FSU had five players with at least five points at half. Devin Vassell chipped in five points, six boards, and two assists.
Trent Forrest kept the ‘Noles offensive chugging along out of the locker room, pouring in seven points on 3-3 shooting by the first media timeout of the half. Forrest also came up with two steals in the first four minutes of the half, as FSU pushed their lead to eight.
UL cut the FSU lead down to 5 at the U-12 media timeout after a steal and three-pointer from Darius Perry. Leonard Hamilton called the Seminoles’ second timeout of the game after four straight offensive rebounds and second-chance points from Nwora cut the FSU lead to 3. FSU would have to respond to adversity for the first time in the matchup and turned to Vassell, who answered with a three-pointer out of the timeout. The ‘Noles went into the U-8 media timeout up nine with just seven minutes left to play.
Florida State didn’t get their first free throw attempt until the 6:42 mark in the second half, as Forrest put the ‘Noles up 10. The Seminoles’ highlight of the day came on a Malik Osborne alley-oop slam off a pass from Walker. Walker followed up the slam with back-to-back three-pointer’s that put the ‘Noles up 15 with just over two minutes to play. FSU completed the upset down the stretch, taking home a 78-65 win.
FSU’s defense has carried them most of the year, but the offensive took total control of the game on Saturday. Walker had his best game of the year, as did Forrest when it comes to offensive production. Forrest, Walker, and Vassell were a three-headed monster on the afternoon. The three combined for 57 points on the day. When FSU can get that level of production out of the three, they’ll be very tough to beat.
The Seminoles now have two top-10 road wins on the year. FSU shot the ball a torrid 55.2% from the field and 11-23 from deep on the day. This team showed that they can compete with the best of the best and can win an ACC title this year. If FSU’s offense continues to play like this, watch out.
FSU plays again on Wednesday at Wake Forrest.